Vintage Circus Editorial for the #PortfolioClub

A bunch of awesome illustrators created the #PortfolioClub challenge on Instagram. The premise is simple: On the first day of every month an assignment is posted and you have time to create one piece for the challenge until the end of the month. July’s topic was Circus – The assignment was to think about the mood and the kind of circus you want to convey with your piece.

After some consideration and research I decided to do a series of editorial illustrations for an article about female circus artists of the last century. Therefore I created two cut-out illustrations and one full background piece.

My goal was to make my illustrations look vintage and use a restricted color palette to differentiate my circus pieces from the colorful look you’d usually associate with the circus.

As usual I started out in my sketchbook creating the first draft for my illustrations on paper. Afterwards I scanned them in and re-traced and edited them digitally in Procreate. The first piece I created for the assignment was the acrobatic tattoed lady. She was partly inspired by Maude Wagner, the first female tattoo artist who was also a circus attraction herself.

Next I created the knife juggling lady riding an unicycle. My work process has changed quite a bit lately and I see my digital work developing into a kind of lineless art style which I really like. The colors used on the second lady are the same as on the first, because I wanted to make sure to get a coherent look for the mock-up article.

Lastly I created the full background illustration. I wanted to draw this full background piece to tie the whole two page spread together. Since this piece was going to be displayed in a bigger way I used a tad bit more color in it.

Editorial Illustrations for an article about female artists in the circus

I did the whole project digitally, but since I don’t want to waste my sketchbook pages I used the opportunity to experiment with some totally different colors on my original sketches. It’s interesting to see what significant effect color choices can have on a piece.

If you want to learn more about the PortfolioClub or see what other artists created for the circus assignment be sure to check out the hashtag #PortfolioClub on Instagram!

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