by Melissa Ashcraft

Image Credit: Laura Coyle

Creative Acts of Transformation Act II: The Reveal

Leo Tolstoy said, “Art lifts man from his personal life into the universal life.”

As we begin our Creative Acts of Transformation Project, we wanted to get a glimpse into the personal lives of the artists before their Wacom exquisite corpse enters the universe.

Atlanta illustrator and jazz artist, Laura Coyle, created this illustration rooted in “Family Foibles” with a Cintiq Companion.

Image Credit: Laura Coyle

Here are a few words about Laura’s life, work, and approach to the Creative Acts of Transformation exquisite corpse, taken from our interview.

Q: We love your start to this corpse, but it looks…hot! Is this an illustration rooted in a memory?

A: When I heard the theme Family Foibles, I didn’t know what I would do. I thought about things we put up with in our families, and started reminiscing about food, and dinner, and family celebrations.

One of our family traditions was to move our kitchen table and chairs in front of the fireplace to eat dinner. One year, we decided to do something “exotic” and create a table close to the floor so we could sit on pillows as we ate.

My mom obliged by wearing this crazy long robe with the bell sleeves and made from some 1970’s synthetic material. As she was lighting the candles, her robe caught on fire and her outfit went up in flames. It was a big dramatic flash that went out as fast as it went up. It definitely set the right mood for our “exotic dinner” on the floor, and the memory was burned in my brain. I thought it would make a great picture.

Q: And it does! So this is your first time using the Cintiq Companion. How was the experience?

A: One thing I really enjoyed about working with the Companion was the portability. I like to start out away from my computer, like in the living room with old movies on, or outside in my studio. The Cintiq Companion really fit my process perfectly. I especially liked the fact that there was pressure sensitivity in Photoshop, which you don’t get with other tablets. It’s everything, all in one package.

It also allowed me to do something I don’t typically do: incorporate a good deal of Photoshop. When I had this tablet to play with, I started in Illustrator and made the illustration as I usually do with flat, graphic shapes. After the experience, I thought I just want to sit here and draw and draw and sketch and sketch and color and color. You’ll never see any piece of work that I do with as much sketching or line work as this. I had an absolute blast.

Q: There are a few patterns in this piece. Can you explain how you work with them?

A: I love working with patterns, and the pattern I created for this was with Adobe Illustration CS6’s pattern-making tool. It’s incredible how fast you can make a pattern with this tool. And that was part of the motivation in choosing this subject matter and the way I approached this illustration. I was able to use some patterns I had already made and created some just for this. It was a lot of fun.

Q: What would you say to the next artist?

A: I wouldn’t say anything about the art because it’s up to the next artist. But I encourage them to really play with the Cintiq Companion. Its portability offers a great excuse to get away from your desk, and you can still use all of the programs you’re used to working in. The Cintiq Companion lets you change your atmosphere and scenery, which is a fun addition to the creative process.

While interviewing Laura in her home studio, we were lucky to get a glimpse at some of her earlier work.

Thanks, Laura, for letting go and sharing your work. And inspiring all of us to do the same.

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