Balancing Logic and Design
Something I’ve encountered a few times while drawing is how much to balance the logic and the design of a piece.
For example: I’m revisiting a design I did for the exterior of Hansel and Gretel’s home. Logically the type of house they live in would be pretty plane and basic looking, a rectangle with a roof on it essentially, but this is pretty boring so should logic be sacrificed for more appealing design? I think this might depend on the context of an illustration. If something isn’t logical enough it could make the illustration less believable. If it isn’t an interesting design then it hasn’t succeeded as an illustration.
Would love to hear what you all think about this!
AngelinaKizz last edited by
I think you could find balance, in telling the story of how their simple four walls were built? Stone would make it more interesting than a plain box with a peak roof. Maybe log cabin style? Can you see the drapes from a window? I think there’s lots of ways to make a box more interesting, push the shape so that there’s angles or curves?
Kim Hunter last edited by
@angelinakizz Remind me - are H and G neglected children? Did they have a bad stepmom? If so, does their environment show this? What does their father do for work? Does the hoouse and stuff around the house show this?
@angelinakizz Oh I’m not looking for feedback on my example, just meant it as purely an example. Just wanted to open up a discussion on what other’s think of the idea of logic vs design.
But going off of what you said. Even adding lots of curves and pushing shapes to be more interesting might not be enough on such a bare bones design. The silhouette of the house would be pretty boring so it probably isn’t a good design, right? This is the conundrum I have in scenarios like this. Although it might make sense for something to look very simple it might not lend well to an interesting design.
chrisaakins last edited by
@griffin I think that a lot can be done with a barebones design. Much of what has been said already in the comments applies no matter what the concept is. You merely need to ask yourself what kind of storytelling elements can you squeeze in to tell more about the setting? In your example of H and G, yes a plain cottage would be appropriate. But in that particular setting, you have all kinds of options to tell a story. Are there tools that could be lying around? vermin? wear and tear on the cottage? food items? clothing laying around, What kind of material is it constructed of? How old is it? What personal effects might be laying around?
Now if it was a contest like the Fairy tale Inn, then I think that design factors in more. In that case the objective is to show your off creativity.
So really it comes down to context and storytelling and objective. If your objective is to depict an accurate house then you approach it more from a storytelling aspect. If the objective is to show your creative brain and wow perspective clients, go fancy with the design.
One last thing: Even a barebones design could be made visually complex by adding other elements that are not necessarily part of the cottage. The cottage might be covered by ivy or have a tree growing by it or out of it. There could be a lean-to shed for fodder, a clothesline could be coming out of the window. It could be set in a hillside or next to a wall.
I think It helps to see it that it really is a matter of not letting the minimum stifle the creativity but rather enhance the possibilities.
Does this help at all?
@chrisaakins thanks Chris! Definitely helpful for clarifying that balance.
willicreate last edited by willicreate
Adding to what @AngelinaKizz wrote: Logically, if Hansel and Gretel is set in late medival times, their peasant family would live in a germanic-style thatched house, which has lots of character in the design. There are many subtle curves and textures in in architecture. Foundation timbers can be exposed. Walls of peasant homes are made out of branches and mud/poo. If they are wealthier, they use wood planks or low-quality brick, maybe add lime mortar.
Edit: There's also nothing wrong with going with a minimalist rectangular structure. An artist could pursue an minimalist, abstract style and it can serve the reader well. Sometimes it helps the audience to fill in the blanks with their own imagination.
@willicreate aaaah that era would be a lot more fun for the design of this house. I’d set this in the late 1800s with the idea that this is a family of German immigrants to America. With the way I’ve designed the interior and the characters already I’m not sure I could get away with making the exterior in that style/ era
willicreate last edited by willicreate
@griffin Ahh, that clears some things up for me.
Looking up german homesteads in the wild west, I see a few interesting buildings. Not every town had access to a carpenter and not everyone can figure out how to make a cabin. Depending where the homestead is located, timber can be scarce. There are photos of haphazard houses made of scrap wood, straw, etc. You can have a lot of fun with this retelling.
@griffin I hadn’t really thought about this before. It’s an interesting question. I think you can work around the design problem without losing logic though. I know I’ve seen illustration where maybe the house is plain, but the environment is interesting. It could be that the woods around the house is super cool looking. And, maybe you want to focus on that to show how lonely of a place it is… Or maybe it’s a simple house, but it has old crates and wagon wheels or a broken shutter, boots by the front door, laundry hanging to dry… Stuff to make it feel “lived in.” I think there’s ways to keep the design both logical and interesting.
The top one is Trina Schart Hyman for Snow White and the bottom is Julia Sarda - I think for the Secret Garden. I thought Of these two illustrations immediately.