Saturday, April 16, 2011

Picture Story: spring sing

Technically, I was on vacation this week. Vacation, as it turns out was mostly about sleeping and not having to wake up at the sound of an alarm clock. Plus it was about getting some work done on some projects that I have been procrastinating on for a long long time. I am a hell of a procrastinator. But, I did finally take all the snowflakes down — my winter decor consists of my ginormous collection of plastic / resin glitter covered snowflakes (see this post for my hilarious prediction).

Anyway, now I have to hang the butterflies and the hummingbirds... which I just haven't quite gotten to yet.

In the mean time — a picture story: spring sing.
I finished this illustration in the spring of 2009 (see last graphic), but I probably technically started it around 2005. This first graphic is actually a painting. It was painted with acrylics with details done in prismacolor on illustration board. The original is actually 11X14 inches. But via the magic of a scan and a size format change in photoshop it became an 8X10.

What I actually did was I flipped the image horizontally, and then lightened the resized copy of the painting in photoshop and then printed that and drew an outline around everything. Then I scanned that outlined copy and adjusted the file until all I had was the outline on a white background.

When I have an inked copy, then I make a sample fill of every part as a separate layer. So I fill all the tulip flowers with one color, all the petals with one color, the grass, the tree trunks, the leaves, the sky, and the clouds. Because I am going to use scans or paintings or drawings, or digital photos to actually fill in the those parts.

This is a size reformatted portion of a scan of an 11X14 acrylic painting called "geranium sunrise." It's what would eventually become the background of "spring sing." Of course, I had to reformat it 8X10, and then I would go on to lighten the entire painting by creating a layer of white, playing with its opacity and then merging that to the layer of the scan of the painting.

The yellow warblers that appear in the painting were drawn separately. They were drawn with prismacolors. That drawing was scanned, and all the white space was removed. The clouds were created using the paintbrush in photoshop, and then using a layer fill style over the background. The sheet music that appears in the background was scanned, and then manipulated using the warp tool so that it is wavy instead of linear.

The leaves of the trees were created from a digital photo that was manipulated and resized. The original image is actually of maple leaves on the ground. The tree trunks were created from a layer I created by layering several different colors with several different brushes and then using filtering effects in photoshop.

The grass was also created from a photo. It's actually a picture of the grass in my neighbors yard (and this particular photo has been used in a number of my illustrations when I need grass, which I always think is kind of funny since my neighbor will mow his lawn on a diagonal and this shot is clearly of some grass that hasn't yet been cut) . The tulip flowers and leaves were both taken from the same scan that was used for the background.

And through the magic of layering styles all these things come together to create the illustration. You can see the finished piece here in my "sarahkdesigns" shop on Etsy.

If you're anywhere near Tecumseh, Michigan: Friday 29 April 2011 is the annual Tecumseh Art Walk. I'll be at Timeless Stitches, so if you're in town, then please stop by. The event is 6-9pm.

I hope everyone is enjoying their spring : )


Out on the prairie said...

Wow, you are a magician with this.Love the theme and idea.It has such a melodical name saying happy.

slommler said...

I love your illustration. Gorgeous!!
Thanks for sharing the process!

Nancy said...

Oh, I'd love to come see you, Sarah! You are so talented -- I wouldn't even know where to start.

This is just beautiful and I appreciate your sharing how you made it. :)

Kerri said...

It is so neat to see how you created that. WOW! It sounds like a LOT of work too. But the result is AMAZING! You create beautiful art!!

Anonymous said...

Cool creations!
I love the colors
But the black and white one is also very pretty!

ju-north said...

This is a great image! and so interesting to see how you did it!

eileeninmd said...

Sarah, you are very creative. I love the pictures. Very springy.

Natalie Suarez said...

super cute! love it! :)

Montanagirl said...

Amazing! You put a lot of work into that, for a very nice result.

Catherine said...

I have no spring to enjoy here in Saskatchewan ~ but your lovely lovely art work always brings a smile to my face! I love the techniques you used here Sarah. And who could resist the sweet birds and music notes! Fantastic!

xo Catherine

Dave said...

That's an amazing picture Sarah! Thanks for explaining your processes. Wow, that computer software is a new way to 'paint' a picture. It sure was effective though - Dave

Signe said...

Wow, this one is amazing! And just perfect for spring :)

Frannie said...

Just in time for Spring. How very lovely. Love your process!

Happy Little Trees Studio said...

Wow! So interesting to see how you work!

Banjo52 said...

Thanks for stopping by Banjo52. I like what your art does with the birds. If someone had tried to describe it, I'd have said, "Nah, sounds too cute." But it works, does justice to the critters.

About a week ago, I took my first drive through Tecumseh--the only town of about that size I hadn't been to in SE Michigan. I expected a crossroads, but it's quite a nice and seemingly complete little burg.