Conor Hastilow
by Zaeskeren on 2 Jun 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

Digital illustrations in the styles of selected artists with a common narrative.

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This 2D illustration project was designed to develop my understanding of contextual and historical influences in creative work, and how an artist can incorporate elements of various styles into their own.

At the outset of this project, I created a character in my usual style based on a mosasaur, Seascale the Mysterious Ocean Lizard, and an adventure story (inspired by Ecco the Dolphin) which I would tell through four subsequent pieces, the idea being to test whether an audience could "read" through all five illustrations to discover the full story.

The first piece in the series popular is inspired by the signature style of influential Disney artist Mary Blair, and tells the first part of Seascale's journey. Seascale has just been accidentally transported to Earth by a time-space teleportal, and now must seek the energy crystals needed to reactivate the teleportal on the Earth side; meanwhile, the oceans are plagued by human pirates who pose a threat to Seascale.

The second part of Seascale's journey is told in a style based on the 2D drawings of Patrick Morgan. Here, Seascale has located an energy crystal in a sub-oceanic cavern and retrieves it.

Part 3 is inspired by the (former?) signature style of concept artist Thomas WIlson, perhaps best-known for his work on Scaler (2004). Having located all five crystals and activated the teleportal, Seascale is suddenly confronted by a delusional pirate captain, who sees Seascale as a legendary dragon guarding its hoard of treasure.

Part 4 is inspired by a series of experimental illustrations by Mini Rabbit author and illustrator John Bond, and ends the story with a cute scene of Seascale, having returned to his own ocean, pursuing his prey.

This project was a challenge, because refined 2D illustrations are not my speciality; however, by exploring and reflecting on the styles of other artists, I actually learned several things about my own typical 2D style and elements of it that I would like to improve. Any constructive feedback or commentary would be appreciated as always!

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