City Made Out of Ticky-Tacky


I just completed the skyline for I Remember. This illustration now has my record for the longest time taken to complete. I created the skyscrapers out of balsa wood, bass wood, and popsicle sticks. I tried several different glues as my main adhesive including super glue, gorilla glue, goop, and rubber cement. Rubber cement worked the best overall, the other adhesives either took too long to set or were absorbed too much by the wood. Super glue worked well but I found myself running out of the small bottles very quickly, and I became nauseated by the fumes. I have yet to decide whether or not I will digitally install windows in the skyscrapers. I really enjoy the look of them right
now, but I am uncertain how they will look when I shoot the model and place him in front of this background. The next two steps of this lengthy illustration will be shooting the model and the installation of the many papers reading “Those are pearls that were his eyes.”

Clay Fish


After finishing the head portion of I Remember, I went on to create the hanging fish. The fish will never actually hang; the strings will be fitted in the image later via Photoshop. I chose to use modeling clay to make the fish. I used one decent sized ball of clay, and destroyed each fish after completion  to create the next one. I tried not to get too detailed and decided to ignore scales and stripes. Instead I focused on shape and shadow. I have used modeling clay before in conjunction with the overlay tool in Photoshop, and I have found that they complement each other quite well. I was able to add color and definition without losing shadow and shape. I still may find an alternative object to use for the eyes. Originally I was going to treat the eyes digitally as well, but now I believe that it shouldn’t be hard to solve with a real object.

The Red Head


I chose to complete the head portion of I Remember first. Initially  I considered making a paper mache mask of my own face with the help of my wife. I have never attempted such a feat, and the thought of scarring my wife for life by having her assist me in my own suffocation finally deterred me from trying. The less threatening Plan B, which consisted of using a Phrenology head with poor facial features as a base, was a more appealing route to take. After covering the Phrenology head with plastic wrap, I then built a better nose, brow, lips through the use of modeling clay. Next I covered the head with paper mache ( I used corn starch and Elmer’s Glue.) For the proceeding step I used a hot glue gun to affix red yarn to the paper mache head. For each strand of yarn I cut a decent length piece so there would be extra free-hanging yarn on the top of the scalp and the lower neck. I was able to shape the extra yarn at the base of the neck to resemble being tucked into the collar of a dress shirt and tie. The top yarn was tied to a wooden clothes rack to create a good base for what will be seen in the final image. There will be a need to shape and multiply the yarn digitally to gain the same effect seen in the sketch.

Better Late Than


I have yet to become the blogging master that I aspire to be. As you may have guessed, I have finished Knights quite some time ago. The Final stage of this illustration was to paint digitally on top of the final collage. I have found that using textures and shadows helps the drawn and painted pieces become more cohesive with the photographed elements. I ran into some trouble with the knights. The final drawing of the knights had both too close in proximity. I realized this dilemma when I was fitting the pieces of the final collage together. I spent a decent amount of time on the knight drawing and the main nurse figure was blocking a good portion of their hands and swords. I decided to fix the problem in photoshop by splitting the knights into two, and then moving them further apart which allowed for more of their details to be seen. On the downside, the sword’s edges and directions no longer matched up on both sides. I then had to redraw the knights’ swords in photoshop in order to get their relationships to match. Overall I am happy with the final image. I believe I have stayed true to the original idea of the first sketch.


For my next project I am going to create an illustration based on a few lines taken from the T.S. Eliot poem The Wasteland:

You know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember Nothing?
I remember
Those are pearls that were his eyes.
Are you alive or not? Is there nothing in your head?
that Shakespherian Rag.
It’s so elegant.
So intelligent.

I intend to create and photograph as many elements as possible for this illustration. The head will be made of red yarn, the fish will be made of clay, and for the first time I am going to try to build a miniature cityscape.

Drawing and Masking


The next stage of my process is the drawing stage. After taking all the photographs needed and placing them into Photoshop, I divide the main image into sections that are then printed out and used as guides for the final drawings. Having the photographs visible in the printed guides allows me to use them as a reference. The visual references enable me to create final drawings that are tailored to fit exactly with the photographic elements of the main image. The cohesiveness of the drawn and photographed portions of the main image are made possible by the use of a light table and the sequence of the stages of my process.

After all the final drawings are made, I then scan them all into Photoshop. Thus begins the next masking stage. All photographed and drawn elements are masked. For the non-photoshop savvy this term means hiding all unwanted areas around the object you are working on. As with the drawn knights shown here, the white area surrounding them is hidden so only the knights themselves are visible. The masking process can be long and tedious work, but I choose do this so I can then still have control until the very last stage of my process to reposition elements to my liking. Digital painting and correction is the next and final stage and will be covered in my next post.

Although the Inception  hype train may now be an old hat, I will still say it–an amazing movie, definitely made of a quality like I have not seen in a long time.


The Ugly Stage


The sketch from my previous blog has now entered stage two. This stage is otherwise known as the “ugly stage,” or to be more correct the “ugly stages” since stages three and four are not that pretty either. I photographed the model in several parts. The selected dress was longer than I had hoped so the legs and dress were shot separately. The final image will have a shortened dress in a layer on top of the more bare legs underneath giving the illusion of being one. The model’s head was also shot separately. The pose and angle of the head in comparison to her body was humanly impossible; this element will also be attended to in the last stage.  I was finally able to make it to the beach and shoot some great looking skies after the Fourth of July tourist crowd died down. I also shot some pictures of rocks to be used behind the knights and some metallic objects that will become textures for the knights’ armor and swords. Stage three will include drawing the knights, additional rocks, grass, barbed wire obstacles, hair, and tree.
I will be ending today’s blog off subject. Besides drawing knights and swords in the next few days, I will also be viewing Inception. The movie has received great reviews so far and I am hoping it will live up to my ever increasing expectations. It has been awhile since I have seen one of those really really good flicks. Time is past due.


knight003Hello and thank you for visiting my new site. My name is Aaron Kober, and I am an illustrator. My art is a combination of drawing, photography, installation, sculpture, and digital art. The photo-composite style that I work with was inspired by years and years of watching cinema. I enjoy the narrative qualities found in film, and I try to set up my illustrations as if they were a movie still.

 The purpose of this blog will be to introduce the process that I use when creating my illustrations. The first piece I will be working on is the untitled sketch shown to the left. The initial sketch is the most important step in my process. The sketch itself will act as a blue print for the rest of the illustration elements. Most characters and objects in this illustration will be drawn or photographed separately. The first step will be to photograph the model, rocks, and random objects for textures.

Thank you again for visiting.


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