Matt Larsen

Songbird Trapped in a Cage of Its Expectations

This graphic was created in Procreate on the iPad using the Apple Pencil.

The picture began with a reference image of a small bird, sketched in red and colorized with vibrant colors. The ‘cage’ consists of intertwined lines on multiple layers, with musical notes traced and removed afterwards. Final layers, indicating the back of the cage, were drawn in ink and scanned as templates for final metal textures.

True to the title, this piece took a long time to pull together. The first challenge was technical: Procreate crashed repeatedly when I pasted in the oval of each musical note. I averaged no more than four notes before the program restarted, sometimes losing the most recent step. Patience and deep breathing were required. Also, since I had started with the intention of making a print, I was forced to turn off the step record function and could not show each step as an animation. Then, six months into what should have been a six day project, the software updated and I found I could work continuously without crashing.

I accelerated the final product by printing out the bird on a sheet of paper and using a brush and ink to create flowing lines. The resolution of the lines is a lot less smooth than the top layers, which were drawn to look like Bezier curves, but I punted since I could hide them beneath other layers and additional metal texturing.

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