Vetor Illustration: Ice Cream Story by the Beach
By the beach in California is a little ice cream shop, where you can get lovely sundaes & stroll along near the ocean. I've been playing with some Vector drawing tools #adobeillustrator to work on creating a scene of this candy ice-cream store.
You can see some of my earlier sketches & process on this image. I'm still working on adding as many bright and fun elements as I can to this scene. Vector drawing is a whole different artistic process from painting in Adobe Photoshop or Corel
You can see my early sketches were pretty rough ideas, which changed once I put them into Vector format to begin the drawing using 1 point perspective. The pen tool was ideal for drawing with perspective and lining things up correctly.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow, OZ Dance Performance Poster
Creative Poster Promotions for a local small business. This project included photography, typography & graphic design to create a promotional poster to hang around town, as well as images which could be published on Social Media channels. A combination of Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop were used to finish the poster. More details are below.
This set of images was created when the local ballet, the International Academy of Dance decided to put on a show with Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz as the theme.
After meeting with the owner of International Academy of dance, we decided to do a photo-shoot with the ballerina who was playing Dorothy in the show. The concept was to create a poster that resembled and was inspired by the land of OZ from the books written by L.Baum. I decided to photograph the ballerina over a simple white backdrop so that it would be simple to complete the artwork around the dancer. The plan was to create the magic of OZ inside of Photoshop later. The ballerina was photographed with a real dog who resembled Toto.
These are the original photographs, a very simple setup with a portable white backdrop and backdrop stand. I used one light, a simple Yongnuo 685 Speedlight on a light stand, about 45 degrees off camera (OCF), with a fast shutter to catch the movement of her dress. I had the ballerina do several still poses, some swirls and some jumps so we would have a nice selection of images to choose for the final poster.
Part of doing Freelance Graphic Design is wearing many hats. In this case, I had to be the coordinator, the art director, the photographer as well as the client liason communicator and then the final editing of the image and typographic design was all part of my role. I put alot of energy into this poster because I was wearing so many hats, its slightly different than a gigantic creative advertising agency when you are a a creative graphic artist taking on different clients to help local businesses promote their services, shows and products.
Taking the photographs with the Studio Owner (Shannon) was fun, and we even had a little dog as part of the photographs. Having a very usable, and well lit photograph was essential for the design that I had in mind, to put Dorothy (the ballerina) into an OZ inspired scene to promote the show. You can see how much work was done when you compare the original photograph below to the poster above.
Some other images from our Photo-Shoot below.
Here are some of the other edits which I played with while developing this poster. You can see I was playing with the light source while editing in Photoshop to give the background more depth and dimension. The castle in the back which is the emerald city was something I had available in my library of illustrations.
I really enjoyed this project because the Dance Studio was a very creative place and it allowed me to combine my love of photography, with design and digital artistry to create a unique image.
The Enchanted Library: a Place where Reading comes to life
Created by using a combination of Digital Artistry Techniques, specifically created within Adobe Illustrator, Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop for Texturing.
Some recent work in progress:
Something fun I've been working on for a literacy project, called Secret World of Reading ... (This started with a line drawing in Adobe Illustrator using 2-point perspective, then progressed to a Charcoal value drawing in Corel Painter, Now I'm in the acrylic painting phase (in Corel Painter) and adding in Photographic textures in layers using Adobe Photoshop..
The concept is to inspire kids about books, and have them understand a world of imagination lives inside of libraries. With characters jumping out of books, books forming buildings and magical whimsical decorations surrounding the books, this visual idea is communicated through this fun illustration.
Artistic Process: Illustrating with "Digital Paint" while using a Microsoft Surface Laptop and Pen is a lovely experience for any artist, especially this one! #adobeillustrator #microsoftsurface #kidlitartist #puzzles #illustration #illustrators
I'm still adding imagery and fooling with colors on this illustration. I may go back and add some photographic imagery and textures into this images as well. The majority of this image has been hand-drawn rather than me cutting up photographs, which is something I usually do. This project was created as a result of me exploring working in a more illustration drawing medium than photo-illustration.
Here is the most recent version (below) of this project:
You can see how much was added in, by looking at my earlier illustration below (similar to an underpainting) where I have focused on color, composition and trying to get the Value lighting set using colors. Also visually solving the Visual hierarchy, as in where do I want the viewer's focus to be first? Ideally, I wanted the viewer's eye to go to the bright light coming out of the book on the podium. The brightest light is supposed to be coming out of the center front book.
Figuring out where my lights and dark shadows would be if the center book was the main light source, meant I did an exercise in black and white called a Value sketch to determine how to shade everything in the image. (see the black and white sketch below). I don't always do a Value sketch for my illustration imaging, however I find when I take the time to do one, the overall image has a more realistic feel to it.
Here you can see my original perspective line drawing completed below that I used Adobe Illustrator to create. Now drawing with Adobe Illustrator requires alot of technical work in order to be familiar with clicking anchor points, using the pen tool etc. Adobe Illustrator, is one of the best tools for getting precise line art. I do prefer to color and paint with my stylus pen using Corel Painter (which is similar to Procreate) using a Microsoft Surface Studio which really feels alot like traditional drawing and painting media, despite it being digital. The Vector line drawing is how I started the image, you can see it below. I did decide not to continue coloring it within Illustrator, simply because I was in the mood to color with my stylus pen. Sometimes Vectors are fun, however they are extremely time consuming to work with. Check out my other blog post showing my Vector Ice-Cream store to see an example of a full Vector scene.
Now over the summer, I took an illustration class which involved us using the technique for 2 point perspective. This included 1, 2 and 3 point perspective. I didn't honestly enjoy the technique and it reminded me of my first art class during my freshman year of college, which I found unpleasant. There was so much discipline required to draw with precise perspective to get it all looking correct. Fast forward many years later and for my graduate studies MFA degree (in picture book writing & illustration) that I've been working on, I found myself once again having to re-learn the drawing techniques of perspective. We drew and drew different items with varying points of perspective, all in black and white and with charcoal. I'm really interested in drawing with color, and if you've seen any of my artwork, you would see its filled with the brightest colors of every shade on the color spectrum. After the class, it took me some time to creatively digest all of the techniques used for drawing. I needed to have some fun with perspective and see if I could make something colorful, bright and happy, while still using the drawing techniques for perspective.
I decided an illustration with the idea of an enchanted library with dozens of books, as a new interpretation of my Reading themed images would work to have some fun with this new technique.
The theme of Reading comes to life and creating Enchanted Libraries is something I have explored several times, but never with drawing perspective. You can really see the different below where the images are not drawn with persptive and instead have a flatter effect for the overal composition of the library.
This piece above is the first one which is more of a drawing and illustration (Painted) styled piece, where my previous Reading Libraries where more photographic in nature, as in I cut up 50+ photographs I had taken and composited them all together to make the images. Those images have been published on different Jigsaw puzzles & completed with Photo-Illustration, more photographic than painting, though there is still painting on top of images in Adobe Photoshop involved.
Here are some of them below! Now that I have created a few projects in perspective, I might try again to mix it up with my photographic photo-illustration subjects combined with vector-drawn perspective as it gives me alot of artistic possibilities and different ideas for compositions.
Here is a fun library images published by Schmidt puzzles in Europe.
Bluebird Puzzle also picked up my Adventures in Reading artwork for a Jigsaw.
Sunsout also published one of my Reading images in North America. This puzzle is 1000 pieces, I tried to do it once, but I couldn't put it together as I am much better at making images for Puzzles than attempting to do them.
Magic Greenhouse Illustration
Created using a combination of Adobe Illustrator, Corel Painter & Adobe Photoshop, painted mostly on a Microsoft Surface Laptop
Over the summer, I took an illustration class which involved us using the technique for 2 point perspective. This included 1, 2 and 3 point perspective. I didn't honestly enjoy the technique and it reminded me of my first art class during my freshman year of college, which I found unpleasant. There was so much discipline required to draw with precise perspective to get it all looking correct. Fast forward many years later and for my graduate studies MFA degree that I've been working on, I found myself once again having to re-learn the drawing techniques of perspective. We drew and drew different items with varying points of perspective, all in black and white and with charcoal. I'm really interested in drawing with color, and if you've seen any of my artwork, you would see its filled with the brightest colors of every shade on the color spectrum. After the class, it took me some time to creatively digest all of the techniques used for drawing. I needed to have some fun with perspective and see if I could make something colorful, bright and happy, while still using the drawing techniques for perspective.
I decided an illustration with the idea of a greenhouse with dozens of plants in brightly colored flower pots blooming in a tiny garden greenhouse would fit the parameters.
This one is the most complete version I have so far. Notice the cat and the chipmunks... (more on them below)
See if you can find all three chipmunks in the picture above.
I created an entirely separate illustration of the chipmunks before placing them (shrinking them very small) into the above scene.
I did the same thing with the cat (My cat Boots) and some of the other elements such as the birds. Its easier for me sometime to create new image elements on separate pieces of paper (digital files) and then drag in the new elements on a separate layer. This is what makes creating illustration work digitally so much easier. You can separate your image elements easily with layers using Photoshop or (in this case Corel Painter)
Now you will also notice if you see this image at a higher resolution that some of the details are very realistic and photographic. That's because at some point during the illustration process, I brought my drawing into Adobe Photoshop and cut up some photographs I took with my Nikon and put them over my illustrated flowers using masking techniques, blending modes and image transparency so that there would be a hint of real life photographic texture. I adore being able to seamlessly blend photographic textures with drawings, painting and photographs so that the end results are a combination of mixed media process for the final image, filled with details and colors. Its hard to really view the details online but if you see it very close up or printed in a large format, the details are very visible.
Most of the pots in this image are hand-drawn, though at some point I was planning to make one with photographs of actual pots instead of hand-drawn ones. That would involve alot more Photoshop rather than painting them. I do both, sometimes it just depends on what I'm in the mood to create.
You can see the progression below. This is an earlier version before I added a bunch more detail, color and flowers. You can see for this image, I started first by creating a black and white drawing to show myself where the light sources was coming from and where the shadows were. Sometimes I lose the values and shadows once I go full color, but its a good exercise to know where your shadows and highlights should ultimately be in an image.
Lion Puzzle Project:
Here is an image of the final consumer product, the Lion Shaped Puzzle, published by Sunsout.
Here is the image of the final lion artwork I created using layers of different lion photographs. Note, I did take all these different lion photographs with my Nikon, the inspiration and subject of these lovely lions came from different wildlife sanctuaries. I did NOT ever go out in the wild to take photographs of lions, these lions were actually born and bred in captivity as part of a breeding program at the SF Zoo and other wildlife preserves to keep them from extinction as a species.
Here is a screen-grab of when I Was creating the lion in Photoshop. There ended up being at least 5- layers of different background scenery and lion images put together to create this image.
Been working on this lion paradise in the shape of a lion for a while.. I've lost count of how many lions, how many layers at this point.. Each and every single element you see in this image is a separate photograph from my Nikon, on a separate layer.. The face of the main lion is made of four different composite images I took of the lion. The lion at the San Francisco Zoo, is the one who is the grand inspiration for this!