Process & Pictures: Shana Nieberg-Suschitzky alias Shanarama
last updated 19 January 2022
As part of representing artists, we don’t just sit back and wait for new artwork to roll in! Educational Agent Ilaria Vigilante works with artists on developmental briefs to design new characters, evolve their styles and expand their portfolios.
In this Process & Pictures blog, Shana Nieberg-Suschitzky alias Shanarama breaks down her response to one of Ilaria’s briefs, and talks us through the creation of artwork and their artistic process.
I was delighted when Bright asked me to discuss my process when creating my illustrations.
The brief for this illustration was to create an image celebrating China’s glorious Mid-Autumn Festival. I immediately pictured people releasing lanterns into the night sky, which has so much movement and action that I thought it would make a great dynamic piece. This festival is so full of light and joy, I had great fun creating this piece. I wanted to bring a new element to this so, as I love goldfish and they are featured a lot in the Chinese culture, I thought that a crowd releasing fish shaped lanterns into the sky would create a lovely image of fish ‘swimming’ across the horizon. Also, I thought that the colour contrast of the orange glow from the goldfish against a dark blue, night sky would be very striking.
I chose to set the scene by a river in a Chinese rural setting as I love the shapes of their mountain ranges and I thought that the reflection in the water of the lanterns disappearing into the distance would add another dimension to the movement in the image. I also put bunny costumes on some of the children to add a further symbolic connection to the festivity.
When I had made these decisions, I set about finding research, reference and inspiration, usually through the help and resources of the internet. I like to break down each element to research, eg/ the landscape, people, clothes, lanterns, etc and then I collate these pictures & photographs together on sheets with the help of Photoshop and print them out.
Once I surrounded myself with my research, I spent a lot of time pondering and musing over the following: how to create great dynamics within the frame; where I want the main focus of the image to be and how to achieve the balance of light and shadow, through my choices in colour and contrast.
Early on in my career I was advised that 70% of the work is spent on these stages mentioned above and through experience, I would now thoroughly agree. I started to draw thumbnails and roughs, to explore the colour palette, dynamics and direction and character studies including costumes and characterisation.
This illustration was created using my favourite combination of traditional and digital techniques. The technique is namely producing various layers on paper, using pencil and graphite smudging, for the different elements, such as the mountains, the sky, the water, and so on.
Once that stage was finished, I scanned each layer into the computer, assembling them first in photoshop and then continuing to put them together and to colour and draw more on the illustration in Procreate (playing with opacity and making layers ‘Multiply’ are also key!).
The file is then passed back to Photoshop, once the colouring stage is completed, where I then complete the illustration, flattening it and changing it into the necessary file types.
Thanks again to Ily and Bright for setting such a fabulous challenge!