Sunday, 15 May 2011

Derek Yaniger

Bear with me on this, although Derek Yaniger’s work can appear much like many other 40/50’s inspired artists, adopting many of the characteristics associated with it... side profile views of the head and body, large noses making up the majority of the face, simplified facial features and a Jim Flora-esque distortion and exaggeration to aspects of the characters but the main thing is that he draws and creates these characters himself and I love his Hawaii/tiki themes in his work (and dress sense). My recent way of working involves a lot of detail where as I admire Yaniger’s simplification, where any unnecessary detail is rejected... leaving only the elements you need to define the characters or scenes they are depicted in. There is also a strong sense of cartoons mixed with an adult view point in his work - in this particular image of the peeping tom with an elaborate device for spying on the changing woman, the humour of the event is emphasized by the excited jumping of the character… the steam blowing out of his ears and large grin on his face. Another aspect of his work I admire is the limited colour palette… some times a mix of shades of the same colour or complimentary ones but more often that not they are muted tones reminiscent of the printed colours from the era in which he draws much influence.

As I mentioned, his work is predominantly viewed from a side on profile and this often affects the angle in which he draws the rest of his scene to the image.. sometimes ignoring a realistic perspective in order for maintaining a clearer view of all the elements. But the main thing is he adopts a very cartoon like approach in exaggerating details in both the characters and their scenes they’ve been placed… I think I need to remember this in my own work rather than going for a realistic or understandable idea.. I can distort what I am drawing.. after all.. it isn’t real and as Ian said to me… this is why they commission illustrations as they can illustrate things that can’t be recreated in real life. Shape actually plays a strong role in his work also, I can see he has fun playing with the shapes of objects, the position of characters limbs and the overall composition, very much like Jim Flora, but I like his consideration of which shapes best suit each character… e.g. a short character is often more rounded, characters of children have oversized heads in comparison to their bodies and most of his female characters have long legs leading to larger hips with an hour glass shape and slim arms.

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