Be inspired by del Toro
Illustrator Jana Heidersdorf creates an atmospheric mixed media painting that’s inspired by the world and works of acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro
One of my most treasured possessions is a DVD box set made up of the Guillermo del Toro films Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth. I bought it about five years ago on a class trip to London. I hadn’t turned 18, so somebody else paid for it on my behalf.
My obsession with film has had a strong influence on the work I do nowadays. Having been only mildly interested in old and new masters of fine art and illustration, I learned most of what I know about visual language, atmosphere and composition from film.
Film taught me what it means to have an artistic voice, a vision. Especially del Toro, with his world of eerily beautiful monsters, haunting atmosphere and poetry in both image and narration, showed me what it can look like when you weave your own web of personal mythology and symbolism. So you can imagine my excitement when ImagineFX asked me to create an homage to his work!
I’ve been fortunate to work on several film-based projects this year. When you watch a film with art in mind, you become more active as an observer. I believe the goal isn’t to simply enjoy the movie, but to understand and analyse it, to find reoccurring themes, symbols, strong imagery and important details, while trying to get a grasp on the film’s emotional core.
In this case I’ve decided to create a collage of the three box-set movies and Crimson Peak, which seem to me to be del Toro’s most personal works so far. My aim is to study their visual language and compose a strong image that works in its own right, but utilises del Toro’s artistic vocabulary, the taste of his filmography and ultimately includes elements, scenes and familiar characters.
I’ll be working in a mix of acrylic paint, coloured pencils and charcoal, to create a close to monochromatic picture. Most of my works also receive a digital colour finish, which I keep to a minimum for this workshop.