My own entry into the Dark Art Society sketchbook project is titled What A Clown Sees. This was a fun print to work out. What A Clown Sees was originally conceived of as a whole scene with the character brushing his teeth against a more demonic sort of reflection in the mirror and was titled The Reflection. The character’s arm was holding a cartoony red toothbrush and the sink was visible as well with other areas of the page taken up by chunks of solid black.
When I began working this out for the sketchbook project I found myself slowly scrapping the detail and with it most of the black. I came down to a pretty minimalist maybe abstract kind of concept. My first color scheme for this new concept was a reflection in flesh tones against a light blue rectangle to represent a bathroom mirror. The background to that version was a solid yellow block of color. That was the version I initially intended to include, but messing around in photoshop I pieced together a little bit of background for a second version (there’s now a third version taking place at night with stars in the sky mainly done in violets and yellows). Honestly I couldn’t decide which of the first two versions to use, so the majority vote between friends and family polled was to go with the blue sky version for the book.
I would have been happy with either version, but one friend said that the blue sky and hills provide a bit more abstract environment helping to bring it together for the viewer. I do like the blue / green / pink interactions here and having such a colorful piece in chunks of color might help it to stand out. And as much as I love the yellow and flesh sort of version (which you’ll see in time) including something with more environment will probably spark more narrative in the viewers mind. There is something about the surreal yet serene landscape juxtaposed against a disemobodied ghoulish cartoon face that does something especially dark art for me.
Still, something about the emotion or energy expressed by the yellow background and flesh tones is just so different and appealing to me for entirely different reasons. But that is how I want it to be: that each color version in an edition invoke or convey some almost completely different feeling or perception or energy with the viewer.
Here are two color build videos for What A Clown Sees. One is closer up while the other a more full shot of the sketch book. I’ll get some progress posts up here in the coming days explaining my process.
Next I’ll make slight edits to a few of the blocks then edition out the different versions sometime in the near future.