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Artist’s statement: Sampling in hip hop illustration

This project taught me a lot about how to use image editing software, but I suspect starting with a hand-drawn sketch would produce a more interesting idea for illustration.

This project taught me a lot about how to use image editing software, but I suspect starting with a hand-drawn sketch would produce a more interesting idea for illustration.

With this piece, my end goal in mind was to strictly emphasize on the prominent artists that were mentioned in the article, and to scale them accordingly in order of popularity and influence, as to have a more eye-catching image. The use of the white outline around each artist was meant to centralize the audience on the figures of Kanye West, Logic, J.Cole, and Future respectively, and to give importance of attention to each of them. I also chose to cut their figures roughly with straight lines rather than cutting around them through the utmost detail because I believed that having their figures cut in such a way would give a more neat and aesthetically pleasing look. The addition of the black background was used to accompany the white outlines as a way to draw out the figures, as some of them were cut out from images that had backgrounds that were difficult to differentiate from the figure. The incorporation of the word “sampling” on the image, along with the definition, also draws attention but also gives the audience the main idea of the article, as the article delves into how these different artist (mentioned in the article or in the playlist of songs) apply samplings of other songs into their own work.

Throughout the process of making this piece, I continuously learned more and more on the fundamentals of using the Image Editor GIMP, as I learned how to cut out images, how to make the background of an image transparent, rescaling an image, and how to use other useful tools. The process was fairly lengthy, as I first had to find images of the artists that were “labeled for reuse” (images that can be reused however and wherever online, without any legal consequences), border each individually, and then compile all of the images onto one image to make it a collage. Having to resize the images respectively to bring significance to certain artists (eg, sizing Kanye relatively larger than the others as the more well-known artist out of the others) was also a learning process.

Now that I reflect back on the finalized image, there are several components that I could have enhanced. For one, using a solid black background may have been useful in making every other colour appear more vibrant, but using a background of, say, a concert or rave, would have given the image a more lively feel. Another piece of the image that could have been worked on was the bordering, which could have been made different for each artist for a sense of individuality among the artists, though using the colour white for the border made it easier to differentiate the foreground figures from the background and to connect each isolated artist together as a unified collection.

This was my first time diving into the field of graphic design, as this piece was created solely through using GIMP and images found from Google Images, rather than something completely hand-drawn and scanned to edit on a computer. Though my goal of drawing the audience’s attention to the article using these artists was achieved in the image, I feel like there should have been a better way in detailing the content of the article, rather than using the word “sampling” laid in the background of the image, and having the definition of the word. If this piece had been hand-drawn instead, I believe I would have incorporated the word “sampling” in a different way, maybe a musician going through stacks of CDs from famous artists and selecting certain parts of songs to incorporate in their own work or something along those lines.

With finishing this piece of art, I have learned a bit more on how to use GIMP and its various features, and I believe I have learned that only focusing on the appeal of an image rather than the core message may cause people to misinterpret the meaning of an article. In other words, if you put effort in making an image look appealing but you don’t have anything relating to the article in the image, this may skew how people perceive the article (so in a sense, click-bait). I hope to take what I have learned from creating this piece and to be able to apply this to future graphic design projects, as well as hoping to create quality images in less time, now that I know what tools to use and how exactly to use them to manipulate an image, to enhance value and significance of certain aspects of an image as a way of drawing attention of viewers.

1 comment on “Artist’s statement: Sampling in hip hop illustration

  1. Pingback: English New Media : 4th cup of tea – cup of tea

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