I recently created an illustration for a very interesting exhibition in West Belfast. The Book of Kells is an art exhibition celebrating Belfast’s shared heritage, exploring the story of the Book of Kells and looking at the link between spirituality and creativity in Ireland for both Catholic and Protestant communities.
The exhibition opened on the 7th of March and continues until the 22nd of March at St. Mary’s University College on the Falls Road.
So the idea behind my illustration came from the quote “It is often in the darkest skies that we see the brightest stars”.I wanted to show the constellations in the night sky as one or more of the birds and animals which appear in the Book of Kells. I also like the idea of the monks, the scribes who created the incredibly beautiful work had an illuminated view while much of the world was in the depths of darkness. My original plan (i.e. the barely recognisable sketch below) was a parade of musicians beneath the starry sky. The musicians represent the idea of community and the arts keeping people going during dark times. Here’s my first sketch.
I drew the type – it’s an uncial typeface and I originally drew it using a calligraphy pen on an envelope, scanned it in to illustrator and converted it to vectors. The large letter I also features a double bird head with a celtic knot, heavily influenced by the birds in the Book of Kells.
After bringing it into Illustrator to create the vector shapes, I then brought it into Photoshop to add lots of texture. Here’s the final image which went into the exhibition.
And a couple of close ups.
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