After deciding what I wanted the final piece to be I worked in some rough drawings over the heart vector I created to see how I would attach instruments and other musical imagery onto a human heart. The challenge here was to place or replace things so that it still maintained the appearance of a heart whilst having everything strapped onto it. Early ideas of covering the heart in speakers didn’t work well for me because it changed the silhouette to being covered on squares whilst a heart is rounded. Similarly fitting horn instruments into the exact shapes of the arteries proved difficult simply due to the fact that they weren’t the same shape. Making compromises between fitting the shape to the heart and what it was originally meant to look like were some of the biggest challenges of the brief.
Rough drawings here show how awkward I initially found the placement of the instruments. I think the problem in that particular sketch (left) was that I didn’t overlay them enough with each other creating a flat and awkwardly spaced composition. At this stage for the speakers I decided to have them hanging around the edge of the heart so the impression of the hearts shape was still there but it didn’t look like I had forgotten to do anything with that part. It also gave me something do do with the veins in the middle, connecting them to the speakers as cables.
From here the editing of the piece was fully done in illustrator for a while though I occasionally hand drew things roughly in my sketchbook to get used to the shapes. Above are the earliest vectors after the heart ones I did. The orange background was done as a rough shape similar to that of a heart as the edges for the most part within the piece wouldn’t be seen. due to the surrounding parts. I just needed the shape to provide an outline to place the other pieces on at this point so didn’t worry too much about it. The veins drawn in were just to give an early idea of where the cables would go but were reworked a lot later on.
Work slowed down a little bit here on constructing the heart as I was trying to make the piece with the shapes I had and was avoiding reworking them. This meant that shapes that didn’t fit were being left in the piece rather than being fixed. Something that did come out of the procrastination here was a couple of different colour scheme experimentation and pattern possibilities.
The other designs were something I was going to be more limited with the colour palette, but I decided to experiment with a brighter wider range. I also wanted more texture on the heart so before I landed on using a mono print texture as I did on the final piece I experimented with overlaying vector shapes at different levels of opacity. The inspiration of this came from the work of Sam Osbourne:
In particular I looked at the bottom piece and how the person in reds hooded jacket had been built up with lots of red circles over a block template. The build up creates a texture by only using flat objects. I think it works well for clothes and fabric, things that in reality have a texture that is so small you may not usually draw it. The method suggests the texture is there but is a simple way to create it. The reason I decided to use a different texture method to this one in the end was I had the cables over the heart which gave the space a lot of raised texture anyway so I wanted something more subtle than this.
After avoiding reworking the piece for a while I redrew it in pencil to use as a new template. I also blocked in colour of the different parts and did a rough digital line drawing. The reasoning behind this was if the rough stages like this were okay to look at as in nothing looked too off, then it would figure that the layout I had worked and I could move forward with it without getting stuck in another loop.
Something else I chose to do was to rework the instruments on the actual layout rather than doing them separately. The vectors I added here weren’t final colours but rather colours used to differentiate. From here because of how the piece is layered I knew I would be able to add details the horn as they were placed. It was also around here that I could finally see the final piece taking shape and knew I just had to do a couple of tweaks and colour changes.
The final layout with the colours and vector shading finalized. The shading on the vectors was done using the intersect pathfinder function. It allows you to place shadows in quickly and simply without the shadows overlapping into other vectors if you were to do it without the tool assist. I used it predominately on the underside of the instruments and speakers and used it more heavily the lower down the image you get. The circles and heart beat lines on the piece were early attempts at making the image and the background more part of the same piece and also to make it seem like the heart was actually beating.
I tried a couple of different ways to do this. The volume of lines makes it looks like they were placed randomly around the heart or they drew too much attention away from it. I decided rather than having something coming from each individual speaker just focus on showing the whole thing beating.
I used the reggae colours red, green and yellow to fit the lines within in the theme and then used brighter versions coming out of the horns at the top. It kind of looks to me like the top lines are suspending the heart in place by holding onto the sides of the piece, an effect I like. The other lines from around the speaker I feel show movement in the heart without being overwhelming.
I made three slight colour variations of this final piece that can be seen together in the final image gallery and in the sketchbook for this piece. The one I submitted was the grey background but afterwards I grew to like the one at the top of this post more just because the texture tones down the shading in the middle of the heart nicely.