Monday, October 27, 2008

From Sketch to Finish: Paul Giambarba

Above: detail from a framed illustration by Paul, hanging in their home.

I was fortunate to have lunch with Paul Giambarba and his lovely wife last Thursday. The drive through Boston and Cape Cod wasn't too bad -- at least not compared to NYC traffic. And once I got south of Braintree, it got calmer.

Above: Paul and his lovely wife Fran.

Paul is a go-to guy. He's done gag cartoons, he's the fellow responsible for the design of the Polaroid packaging, he's worked for Graphis, Gillette, Tonka, GE and many other major clients. He's won awards from the Art Directors Club of New York and the Art Directors Club of Boston, to name but two. He's lectured, he's founded his own publishing imprint, Scrimshaw Press. And he's the author/illustrator of children's books. The great thing is that he has a series of blogs talking about his career and methods.

I just wanted to showcase some of Paul's methods of working, and how he maintains the vitality of line in his drawings.

Paul's illustrations can be seen at Above is his pencil rendition of Michelle Bachmann. Here's Paul, commenting on the drawing process, from sketch to finish:

Sketch drawn freehand from several photos found on Google Images, 2B pencil on tracing paper.

Above: a cleaner sketch. Paul tells me he draws maybe three sketches total. Paul comments:

Tightened up with black Prismacolor 935 pencil on tracing paper, but eyes too close together.

And then, in Photoshop, the drawing can be altered, if needed. Above: bringing Michelle's eyes closer together. Paul says:

Lasso-tool on Photoshop cut and move eyes farther apart. Gray background only to show former position of eye.

And, above, is the finished product.

Here's another, with comments by Paul Giambarba:

Pencil sketch drawn freehand on tracing paper with 2B pencil from various individual photos on Google Images. Note four eyeballs for Heather, not sure which way she should look, at Paul or away from him.

Deleted one set of eyeballs, then printed out in black by laser printer on 90 lb. Rives BFK print paper. Watercolor added to emphasize Paul's tinted hair and Heather's bosom, which I had drawn too small. Cut and paster my signature to lower right of art. This was not used in a publication so appeared only on my site and blog.
And here are Paul's comments on drawing Michelle Obama:

Freehand sketch of Michelle Obama from various Google images, freehand with 2B pencil on tracing paper.

Tightened up drawing, Prismacolor 935 on tracing paper.

Final sent as .jpg attachment by email. Color added in Photoshop.

My thanks to chef Paul for a wonderful lunch and terrific conversation. And thank you for sharing your working process here. My one regret is that the time went too fast during my visit.

Don't forget to visit Paul's site for much more.


Richard Blanco said...

Thanks Mike for the look into Mr. Giambarba's work, great stuff!!.
Can you please elaborate as to why tracing paper for the sketches?

Dan said...

Mike: Thanks for the in-depth on Giam's methodology. Tracing paper is OK but I always do the rough sketch on the actual piece of paper I plan to ink the finished art on. Just moves along the process that much quicker but it's proof that everyone's got a different modus operandi. Paul caught Sir Paul spot on...excellent rendition. Always enjoy your background info on the goings on, keep up the great flow.
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