I was really excited to start this project! I wrote out every idea that came to mind. For the next few hours, I always had my notebook out in case I got an idea. At home, I browsed through my Pintrest boards for more ideas. In the end, the topic I had the most ideas for and that I was really excited for was Gothic. I came up with ideas really quickly and sketched them in my Mass Media Law class.
I knew this would be too messy for anyone else to decipher, so I re-sketched the ideas I wanted to explore. The part I had trouble deciding on was what details I wanted. What would be the element that tied everything together? My ideas were either wax drippings, lace, branches, or black swirl designs.
This is what I sent to everyone on Slack. On the left side, I took and skull and a crystal to try out some black details, the lace doilies, and the branches. In the end, I chose the branches and added sparse flowers. On the bottom of the left page, I sketched out some different skull ideas. I was only going to chose one, but I decided to chose three very different skulls. I even added a raven skull later on instead of a full, living raven. On the right page, I sketched different horns and chose three of them. I also chose to draw a bat head instead of a full bat, experimented with flowers with eyes and months, and different pierced mouths.
When I actually began, it took me about two hours to get familiar with Illustrator again. In addition, I didn’t strongly consider what style I would want to use. I decided to have organic shapes and lines, so I used the blob brush primarily. While this made the icons look interesting and less standard, they also didn’t look very much like icons. Lines were too thin and there was a lot of small details.
I had begun with the skulls since I knew I could copy them and then change the copies. I also thought the eyes, eye flower, and raven skull would be easier as I practiced more with Illustrator. As you can see, there are too many branches on the flower, the pair of eyes has too much detail for an icon, and the skulls don’t have proper or interesting shading. It took me a long time to figure out how to fix my mistakes. Since I had used the blob brush to create more organic lines, that also meant that there were a ton of anchor points to work with.
This set may not be what comes to mind when you read ‘icons’, nor is this what you probably thought of when you read “gothic icons”. These icons represent what modern gothic can look like. Not everything is completely black and not everything represents loathing incarnate. It’s both dark and light, weird and natural. I knew I was being a bit ambitious with this project, that it was a bit more than I was capable of. However, I learned more than I ever thought I would and I feel just a little more confident.