Having posted a rather cheeky reference to Alphonse Mucha in my completed A Modern "a la Mucha"?, I thought I ought to tackle the real deal. On disk I had a copy of one of Mucha's line drawings: "La Fleur" (1897).

I wanted to explore how he used lines so effectively - especially line weight to subtly emphasise more important structures, and lessening off on the weight for the fine detail. Using the Brush Tool in Adobe Illustrator, I first started with the 3 point oval brush set at 5pt stoke in Black so set the strong lines. Using the same brush, I then alternated between 3pt and 2pt in providing some of the details. The really fine shading and line was done with the same brush set to 1.5pt

I created a frame using a rectangle and circle, and using the Shape Builder Tool to unite them. I kept a copy of this shape, using one instance in conjuntion with the outside rectangle to form a compound shape, with fill set to a rich peach. The other copy of the arch I used with a thick 25pt black stroke. Underneath that I chose a light ochre with Blend mode set to Overlay.

Mistakes are perfectly fine so long as you learn from them, and looking at the picture on a different screen I notice how I threw the balance off by not choosing the correct line weights (exploring this was the whole purpose of the piece anyway).  The flowers and hand to the left of the face have not enought variation - the hand essentially disappears! The eye can't easily see the outer forms of the flowers, giving an unpleasent chaotic effect. The opposite is true in the bottom centre , where I used some heavy lines in what are details. This draws the eye to what shouldn't be a key area of interest. Lessons learned!

A good way to deal with the line art is to select it all, Expand, Ungroup and then use Pathfinder: Divide (and ungroup). Then you can delete any bits where lines overlap.


La Fleur