LX Design & Illustration Folio: Blog https://alixartillustration.com/blog en-us (C) LX Design & Illustration Folio (LX Design & Illustration Folio) Thu, 21 Apr 2022 20:23:00 GMT Thu, 21 Apr 2022 20:23:00 GMT https://alixartillustration.com/img/s/v-12/u1044269628-o265069636-50.jpg LX Design & Illustration Folio: Blog https://alixartillustration.com/blog 120 120 Ice Cream Store https://alixartillustration.com/blog/2022/4/ice-cream-store  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

Painter. #vectorillustration #vectorart #vectorartwork #illustrationart #illustrations #graphicdesigner #workinprogress #workingmoms



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. 


ice-cream-candy-store - WIPice-cream-candy-store - WIP

(LX Design & Illustration Folio) adobe background digital digital artist digital illustration drawing illustration illustrator kidlit scene vector https://alixartillustration.com/blog/2022/4/ice-cream-store Thu, 21 Apr 2022 20:22:40 GMT
Ballet Promotional Poster https://alixartillustration.com/blog/2022/4/ballet-promotional-poster 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.


IAD-0071IAD-0071 IAD-0097IAD-0097

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. 

PP_dorothy2PP_dorothy2 PP_dorothy3PP_dorothy3

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. 



Keywords: ballerinaballetballet posterdancedorothylanf of oz balletozPointe shoesruby red slippersWizard of Oz

(LX Design & Illustration Folio) "ruby  ballet  dance  Pointe  Wizard art ballerina dance poster design direction freelance graphic design of Oz photography poster promo poster red" shoes https://alixartillustration.com/blog/2022/4/ballet-promotional-poster Thu, 21 Apr 2022 20:20:31 GMT
Secret Worlds Library illustration work in process https://alixartillustration.com/blog/2022/4/secret-worlds-library-illustration-work-in-process 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. 


WIP library-magic-painting-blockingWIP library-magic-painting-blocking

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. 

magic library perspective_value_structuremagic library perspective_value_structure




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. 


s-l1600 (2)s-l1600 (2)


Bluebird Puzzle also picked up my Adventures in Reading artwork for a Jigsaw. 


bluebird-puzzlesbluebird-puzzles ]


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.


OIP (2)OIP (2)






(LX Design & Illustration Folio) 2 point perspective 2point illustration illustrator library line drawing painting https://alixartillustration.com/blog/2022/4/secret-worlds-library-illustration-work-in-process Thu, 21 Apr 2022 17:50:25 GMT
Magic Greenhouse https://alixartillustration.com/blog/2022/4/magic-greenhouse 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. 





(LX Design & Illustration Folio) create digital drawing drawing how-to illustration illustrator perspective process scenery vector https://alixartillustration.com/blog/2022/4/magic-greenhouse Thu, 21 Apr 2022 17:15:48 GMT
lion_progress https://alixartillustration.com/blog/2022/4/lion_progress 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!

Almost done! 


(LX Design & Illustration Folio) illustrator lion lioness montage painting with photographs photographic photo-illustration photoshop puzzle puzzle art https://alixartillustration.com/blog/2022/4/lion_progress Thu, 21 Apr 2022 17:06:28 GMT
Parrot Illustration work in progress https://alixartillustration.com/blog/2021/12/parrot-illustration-work-in-progress Parrot Paradise Illustration

Photo-Illustration Mixed Media, combination between painting & photography. 

Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter were used in the creation of this image. 

Here is a parrot illustration that I've been working on and some notes below on my artistic creative process for completing this image.  (More on the process below)


This started with a really rough colored pencil sketch just to put an idea down on paper. 



I wanted a waterfall, mountains in the distance and a tropical landscape. From my rough sketch for blocking, I start filling in the details, using Corel Painter and a Microsoft SurfaceBook Pro. This digital tool and wacom stylus pen, feels the most natural to me. I painted it for a long time to reach the point where it reads "underpainting" up above. I have to say, that I did all the initial drawing from my minds eye, meaning I did not use any reference photographs for proportions or anything. I enjoy working on drawings from my mind's eye, however sooner or later the art piece reaches a point wher eI can look at it more critically. Once I'm done playing with "paint" - Its digital acrylic paint. This is a relatively new process because I literally have a storage shed full of old canvas and paper drawings, at this point i my life if I don't need to store "stuff" its good. This is why I really appreciate working in digital media. 

Next, I bring the painted image into Photoshop. Here is where it turns into more of a hybrid process. Sometimes, I simply cut up photographs and use them instead of a drawing, or overlay portions of photographic imagery in order to get proper texture and depth onto an illustrative block of color. For the birds, I hand-painted a few feathers and then was able to duplicate and transform each of the feathers into position. It was at this point that I pulled up a reference photograph of real birds so I could make my parrots look more realistic. The bird began to take on a new appearance, despite that I had spent hours making the underpainting bird, its proportions were not entirely accurate. 

At some point, I decided that the small bird in the middle was too distracting to keep in the final image, but then realized I still visually wanted something there, so I settled on some bright pink stargazer florals to draw the eye.

I'm still playing around with this image, but it has come much closer to completion than it was with my initial pencil sketch. 


It's been raining & raining in the Pacific Northwest, which means I have been working on creating a happy, tropical paradise image involving flying parrots. You can see the progression on this piece, from the initial-colored pencil sketch to the color blocking and the final much closer to finished image at the top. This one is a combo of watercolor pencil, digital stylus pen on a Microsoft SurfaceBook using Corel Painter & then all the finishing and texturizing done in Adobe Photoshop. In the end, its a mix of digital paint, drawing & photographs blended together.. #adobephotoshop #painter #sketching #sketchbook #illustrationartists



(LX Design & Illustration Folio) artist children's illustration drawing how to illustration kidlit painting parrot photoshop picture book process https://alixartillustration.com/blog/2021/12/parrot-illustration-work-in-progress Sun, 05 Dec 2021 04:55:39 GMT
The Sandcastle https://alixartillustration.com/blog/2014/2/the-sandcastle I've been slowly creating an image of a Sandcastle in Paradise using Photoshop CC.. I started with a landscape picture of a favorite beach on Molokai from our honeymoon... The beach image had already been edited, with stormclouds, a rainbow and more for my landscape photo gallery a long time ago. The Sandcastle was another story. I had several different beach images behind it to get the composition I currently have. For a while I was using a secret beach up near Point Reyes, though it distracted from the view of the sandcastle. On to the sand castle. I started with photos of actual sandcastles made by my husband, son and some friends. The lighting was harsh, mostly wrong and the detail, well - skill level of our sandcastles was not exactly the dream fantasy castle that I had in my mind's eye. Then I moved on to some photographs I had taken of one of those silly sand-castle sculpted sand figurines that you can buy in all the beach touristy shops.  The castle was an unusual shade of aqua, as it was supposed to decorate someone's beach themed house or bathroom I imagine. 

So I added in a photograph of the sand sculpted castle. I flipped it over and warped it until I got the composition right on the castle. Then I went in with Photoshop's brush set and added some highlights and sand using custom brushes... Initially, I was working at a view of 30% in Photoshop, on an art canvas about 18x24 - which means I was working with broad lines and strokes but not super detail. Excited by my new idea of a dreamy sand castle I thought it was done. I printed it out and put it next to some other art, and hung it on the fridge for a day or two. I kept walking by it thinking, something is off, something isn't done. I asked my husbnad and my four year old, who are not exactly art critics - who really had nothing constructive. finally I got some worthwhile feedback, and it was about the details. As you know, the devil and the beauty, is always in the details when it comes to images which strike or capture. So, while I spend alot of time taking photos, editing photos, I rarely spend hours and hours editing down to the pixel on a giant image zoomed in at 200%, WITH A PAINTBRUSH. This image will be the first one in a long time that will have more brush-strokes and painting, than photographs. 

My typical image is usually made up of 50-100 photographs - this one is made up, or will be made up of 100-1000 brushstrokes of varying degrees with sand textures in an effort to "paint" a realistic sandcastle... I started actually by trying to go into Corel Painter and playing with the sponge brushes. Honestly, I kept getting frustrated mostly because the workflow is so different than Photoshop, which I've been using since 1998... I even downloaded some amazing sandbrush presets from someone that I found on the internet for Painter. I couldn't adjust them, and thye didn't work right, so I ended back in Photoshop, apparently my medium of choice, for even now painting. Painting in Photoshop using the brushes  takes a little bit of playing around with the settings to get the correct  / desired effect.. I started grabbing small pieces of sand castles that had been built, instead of whole castle photographs, and painting over them to mix with the painted details. This takes hours and hours to paint little grains of sand in Photoshop! Here is a screen shot of my work in progress, which now has many many more hours to go, until the detail is accurate. I tell myself it will all be worth the effort when I print it into a large size canvas and the detail beckons you further into the picture.... :) 

(LX Design & Illustration Folio) beach painting photography pixels sand sandcastle scultpture tropical https://alixartillustration.com/blog/2014/2/the-sandcastle Sat, 08 Feb 2014 15:15:55 GMT
Undersea https://alixartillustration.com/blog/2014/2/undersea Here's a recent piece I created from collages of Aquarium and Snorkeling photographs... It's designed to be a bit of a "Can you Find this..." type of image... I am working on a Puzzle Book, that you can read with your younger children and point out the various objects, as well as search for unusual objects that take a little bit of searching within the image..  This image was made from over fifty different photographs that I took with my Nikon and collaged together to create this final composite image with the help of Photoshop... 

So here goes: CAN YOU FIND THE: Treasure Chest, Tikki God, Scuba Diver, Purple Abalone, Giant Squid, Pirate Hat, Giant Clam, old tire, cuddle fish (looks like a squid sort of), pink jellyfish, dolphin, old clock, and a conch shell

Undersea_hidden_objectsUndersea_hidden_objectsUnderwater Collage with tropical fish, squid, turtles, crab & more
(LX Design & Illustration Folio) coral giant clam kelp forest leopard ocean pirate treasure shark turtle underwater https://alixartillustration.com/blog/2014/2/undersea Fri, 07 Feb 2014 22:55:06 GMT