Creative Illustration is a book by Andrew Loomis designed for artists looking to learn about things such as composition, framing, shading and color and be able to incorporate these things into their drawings to help better set the mood of their illustrations.
Andrew Loomis took all the skills he used when working for some of the biggest advertising agencies at the time and put them neatly in this book for our reading pleasure.
Let’s see if this book still has something to teach us or if it’s just not as relevant in this day and age.
- Format: Digital, Hardcover
- Author: Andrew Loomis
- Publisher: Titan Books, Eighth Printing
- Edition: 1st Edition(Reprint)
- Original Published: 1969
- Edition Published: 2012
- Page Number: 300 pages
- Book Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.4 x 12.3 in
- Languages: English
- ISBN-10: 1845769287
- ISBN-13: 978-1845769284
Creating The Mood
Like with other books by Andrew Loomis, Creative Illustration is less of a “how-to” book and more of a reference guide with notes to help you get started.
This book assumes you know the fundamentals of drawing and expands on them by introducing several concepts. One of said concepts: framing.
Take a look at how the framing in the illustration of the two men in the picture above conveys the mood.
Sure, without good skills in gesture drawing the illustration would look stiff anyway but Loomis makes the man about to throw the punch almost look bigger than the guy on the receiving end.
You get a good feel for how weak the guy is compared to the other. That’s what good framing can do.
As you can see by the advertisements shown above, the composition of a drawing or illustration can really help convey the mood that you’re trying to convey to the audience.
Take for example the advertisement on the bottom-right of the page; the one with the eye. You’re automatically drawn to the eye since it’s the most detailed thing in the advertisement. Then your eye naturally goes down and you end up reading all of what the ad has to say.
Eyes don’t really have anything to do with cars but the point in advertising is obviously to get the viewers attention and that ad definitely does that.
Even if you don’t plan on going into advertising, composition can help you learn how to emphasize certain parts of an illustration and set the mood for the viewer.
Loomis also expands on shading but specifically focuses on using gradients to further establish the mood of an illustration.
This is obviously a useful skill for an illustrator working in advertising in the 50’s as many advertisements would have been printed in blank-and-white, but they also apply to things like pencil drawings as well.
Using darker shadows will obviously create a harsher tone than using lighter shades.
A good artist thinks of these things as they tackle every new drawing they do and Loomis makes this evident in his examples.
Using Color For Mood
When I saw the color wheel in Creative Illustration, I have to admit I was a little intimidated.
I’ve never been the best at choosing the correct colors in my drawings and seeing this just brought back flashbacks of my previous attempts at incorporating color into my illustrations.
However like always Loomis explained the color wheel in such an effortlessly simply way that I was able to start dabbling without(much) hesitation.
Loomis explains things such as the fact that darker shades of certain colors can be used as shadows in place of shades of grey and that contrasting colors can be used together to help further form the mood of the illustration, in this section of the book.
Loomis also explains that the gradients shown in the previous section of the book can be used with color to create different types of color palettes.
As you can see in the picture above the squares on the top of the page have a softer feel to them then the squares at the bottom of the page.
This is because there is a harsher contrast in the bottom two squares.
All these little insights that Creative Illustration offers each help make your new drawing better than the last one.
Creative Illustration gives you a bunch of more tools to add to your roster when trying to breathe life into your drawings.
The book introduces framing to the reader as one way to convey the mood of a drawing.
Composition is also a useful tool to help draw the eye to certain parts of an illustration.
Loomis also expands on shading techniques introduced in earlier books, but this time focuses on using softer or harsher shading tones to invoke different moods and feelings.
Color can be an intimidating foe for artists, but Loomis breaks down how to use color correctly and efficiently to help further bring your drawings to life.
He also teaches how building a certain color palette can help induce one feeling or another in your illustrations.
Creative Illustration is a great book for what it is: a reference book for artists looking to add that last bit of spice to their drawings to really help bring the illustration all together. Just don’t expect any hand-holding in the process!