Welcome to the YJStudios illustration blog. I am Yoel Judowitz, a professional illustrator specializing in books, products, packaging, and educational programs. I will use this blog to share my insight and knowledge on the subjects of art and illustration. For more info see my website www.yjstudios.com
Category Archives: Scenery
Someone once told me the scariest thing you can meet in a forest is a clown. He’s probably right.
I made this picture a while ago using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Each one of these programs has unique features that are useful for illustration. More on that in another post. (Also: note the signature swirls)
Who are the Watusi?
Many of you are familiar with the Watusi from the Beatles song, “Number Nine”. But, I have been wondering for ages; who are these Watusi ? What do they look like? Where do they live? They sound like one of the lesser known of the seven Canaanite tribes that used to populate ancient Palestine. That they travel with elephants is obvious, but what else do we know about them? ( aside from being a 1960′s dance move)
(click the picture twice to see full texture and detail)
If the swirly path that I began traveling, inspired by Rebbe Nachman’s stories, leads anywhere,
its certainly leads to this neighborhood: Tzfat, Israel.
Tzfat is a kaleidoscope of jumbled, “looking glass” streets adorned with marks of deep blue and flashing white, nested on a small rocky mountaintop. Rebbe Nachman’s fantastic characters would be right at home here and it is easy to imagine meeting one just around the next bend. The battle between simple joy and twisted darkness that runs through the Rebbe’s stories seem as palpable and real as the interplay of light and shadow on the worn cobblestone streets. This is Breslov country, no doubt.
The sketch above is based on a photograph taken by a friend of mine during a walking tour. I was immediately struck by the back and forth of the lines and shadow. I pushed the effect further almost as if I would’ve applied a Photoshop filter to the image. If it swirls, I’m there.
I can’t seem to get enough of swirls, here are more, some in rather unlikely places:
p.s. you can see the tree picture here that I posted on I.F. ( I know it has a typo Tehillim has an extra yud by mistake and it is not 1:1 this was an old version)
This picture is my personal favorite from all my illustrations.
I created it about 15 years ago at the age of 16. This picture, like the illustrations in the previous post, is based on a story from Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. The story is a mystical variant of the classic tale of two twins separated at birth. There are allusions to the deepest kabbalistic and mystical secrets, cloaked in a beautiful, surreal tale.
One detail in the story that made a deep visual impression on me was the idea of the moon making a “joke” and causing the sun to laugh. The result of that odd interaction is that the sun weaves a “garment” for the moon. I did not know what any of this means, and I still don’t, but I loved the visual concept.
What I like about this picture is that it is the first picture that really actualizes my artistic style. The fluid, swirly lines of the tree and mountains, and the slightly zany characters, all set in a somewhat surreal setting, felt natural and spontaneous to create. Of course, the “flat screen” castle on the lower right is a somewhat modern appendage to a otherwise classic picture, but it’s all good.
That feeling of “flow”, when the picture feels spontaneous and natural, is an indicator that one is honing in on a personal style. More importantly, the feeling of having articulated and expressed what you were feeling inside is also a signpost that you are headed in the right direction. In many ways I feel it’s like reenacting when you were a child learning to speak. First you grunt and make general sounds. Slowly, with time, the sounds develop into single words which become full sentences, and eventually they evolve into full blown speech with a personal rhythm, inflection and vocabulary.
The mediums I used for this picture were those available to me at the time in my high school dormitory: crayons, magic markers, and a pen. Surprisingly the crayons added a nice texture that can be seen in these close ups:
One note: the gentleman balancing on the tree is not a depiction of Rabbi Nachman, of blessed memory, but rather the protagonist in the story.