I love line, I love pencil, I love DaVinci, and I love dogs. So the opportunity to create a series of illustrations depicting canine osteoarthritis in a DaVinci style was eagerly accepted. Even with the stipulation that the colors used had to get along with Pantone 330, 5415, 1245 and 188.
In order to achieve a more renaissance look, I used a carpenter's pencil on a fantastic paper from Sennelier: their Esquisse Blanc. It has a subtle but sharp grain that creates a beautifully gritty line. It's very thin but can also hold up to a light ink wash... it's one of my favorite papers for textured pencil work.
The illustrations depict the development of osteoarthritis, a common form of joint dysplasia in dogs. Once the articular surface is "torn" or disrupted, the erosion of the articular surface accelerates. The molecular illustration shows the Extracellular Matrix, or ECM, which is a hydrophilic molecular matrix that is largely responsible for the incredible slipperiness of the articular surface; by some estimates this surface has 1/10th the friction of ice moving across ice.
I have often told students that the first thing they should purchase for their studio isn't a computer – it's a lightbox. The various washes and splatters for this piece were done on separate sheets of paper on a lightbox so the drawing could show through. These were then colorized and combined in Photoshop to achieve an aged look.
I'll be honest – as someone who learned and refined traditional techniques in school, this always seems like cheating. But changes and adjustments are inevitable in advertising, and the flexibility this approach provides for both myself and my clients makes it a necessity.
In the end it's a hybrid approach... the best of both worlds.