Artist’s statement: Illustration for Amazon article

The process for making this image was less tedious compared to coming up with a concept to work with, but I enjoyed incorporating hand-drawn elements with editing with GIMP.

The process for making this image was less tedious compared to coming up with a concept to work with, but I enjoyed incorporating hand-drawn elements with editing with GIMP.

This illustration was made to accompany an article delving into Amazon, the online shopping company, and the search for a city for the company to occupy a second headquarters in.

Illustration by Mellow Tea

I based this illustration on J.M Flagg’s 1917 US army recruitment poster, in which I replaced the figure of Uncle Sam with a businessman with the Amazon logo for his head. I would say that this can add a sort of humour to the image, with the absurdity of the logo for the head. Additionally, I changed the phrase “I want YOU for U.S Army” to “We want YOU for Amazon’s Second HQ”, to pertain to the article, about Amazon deciding on where to place their second headquarters, pretty self explanatory.

This illustration was something that allowed me to experiment with more features of the image editor GIMP–most importantly the smudge tool. As well, before scanning this artwork, which was initially just the upper torso of a businessman, I decided to enhance the image through adding some slight shading effectively giving the image a dynamic feel and increasing depth. Adding the Amazon logo as a head made it clear as to what this article would be about, made more obvious through the text I added. Use of colour is important, and the colours I chose were fairly based on the Amazon logo, with the black and yellow text and the yellow border surrounding the image. The border surrounding the poster-like image, coloured yellow, accentuates how the poster is relating to Amazon, as the logo incorporates the colours black and yellow.

With every piece made through the Image Editor GIMP, I am becoming more familiar with it and have been exploring more useful features. The basic features, such as the pencil, eraser, paint bucket, rescaling the image, etc., and the use of control + z, has made the process of creating the image was not as lengthy as the illustration I made for the article about sampling in hip-hop. Layering the Amazon logo on top of the businessman body was pretty simple, as was adding the text to the image, which I had acquired from sampling image. The pencil and eraser were used to make the lines of the artwork more solid, and to clean up the image just in general. In this illustration, I learned how to use the smudge tool, to achieve that messy texture along the end of the body of the businessman. Also, I was able to utilize the rectangle selection tool to make the yellow border around the poster image. All of this was done in a rather short amount of time, and I was able to learn more about how to use some different tools for GIMP.

I would say that figuring out the concept for this image took longer than formatting the overall image, as I came up with a handful of concepts before settling with the idea of making a spoof of Uncle Sam and the US Army campaign poster. At first, I wanted to incorporate the different cities that were mentioned in the article that would be potential candidates for Amazon’s second headquarters. My idea of including the cities was to portray Amazon as a person faced with making a choice of some sort, so for instance, making Amazon a person looking for a house to buy. I also tried to draw Amazon as a baby, faced with making a decision, but that would probably convey the message in an offensive manner, making Amazon seem weak and insignificant. Another concept I had was compiling the cities on a ballot of some sort, to make Amazon a person voting for who could be the next HQ. Eventually, I came up with the idea of recreating the US army recruitment poster made by J.M Flagg, since Amazon looking for a city to base their second HQ could be seen as a sort of recruitment. At first, I wanted to give the businessman replacing Uncle Sam the face of the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, but wasn’t sure if he’d be that recognizable. So I just layered on the Amazon logo for the head of the figure. The smile on the logo, created by the arrow pointing from the A to Z of Amazon, helps convey how the logo can be used as a face. To make the message clear, I changed the text of the campaign poster to relate to the situation of Amazon looking for their second HQ.

All in all, I learned a bit more about GIMP, this image editor being a continuous learning experience with its multitude of tools and features. Additionally, I was able to include depth in this image, to make for a more impactful drawing. I was able to apply using layers in an image from my previous image that I made, which made the process behind this particular image very simple. Though it took a bit to finally figure out a concept that would effectively show the message of the article, I feel happy with the end result. This image isn’t perfect, I still need to get used to working digitally with illustrations, but I believe that, with the skills I’ve acquired through the illustrations I’ve made, I can strive to produce more effective images in a more efficient manner.

1 comment on “Artist’s statement: Illustration for Amazon article

  1. Pingback: English New Media : Last cup of tea – cup of tea

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