Tuesday 6 December 2011

Editorial Illustration for 'Britains Most Admired Companies'

Last month I was given the opportunity to work on one of Management Today's most important annual features, their top 10 of the most admired British companies. Put simply, you don't turn these jobs down.

I only had a fortnight to work on two finished illustrations however in reality I had much less because I have to spend three days a week away from my studio. Thankfully the concept was already in place before I started work on the roughs freeing up more time for the final pieces.

The first illustration was to be a portrait of Tony Pidgley, Chairman of the Berkeley Group and winner of this year's 'MT Most Admired'. The brief was to picture him in a cheerful mood with a recent Berkeley Group building development across the Thames in the background. Below you can see the pencil work and the following stage which was an acrylic burnt sienna lay-in. Acrylic under-paintings are starting to become a regular first stage for my watercolour illustrations, especially if they need to be completed speedily. The acrylic stops the pencil work dissolving in wash after wash of watercolour and also pushes through colours laid on top, giving interesting effects such as warm edges to cool colours.

These progress photos are a bit dark, the burnt sienna was more orange brown than dark brown.

The other illustration was a double page spread of an imaginary cityscape (based on Canary Wharf) in which all the top ten companies were represented by individual skyscrapers. The blank boards on each will have the company logo added digitally. The final pencil work was given the same acrylic treatment as the portrait illos but also with a hint of shadow being cast along the bottom of the buildings. Is it sunrise or sunset? I'm not sure but it certainly makes the painting more dramatic. The river in both paintings ties the images together.

In my next post I shall reveal the finished illustrations and how they looked in the magazine which arrived in the post yesterday morning.

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