Saturday, February 25, 2012

Picture Story: snow hootenanny

 "snow hootenanny" is another image that I created for the calendar. I actually began the original sketch in August whilst sitting at the Art Walk and biding my time. So, one would think that maybe it would have been finished as an illustration in a timely fashion... nah.
Like all the calendar graphics for this year - this one came right up to the deadline as well.

So, this is the original sketch.

And, as per the usual, I scanned the sketch, converted it to a blue page, printed that out, inked it, and scanned it back in to Photoshop and began editing it for fills...

 However, I was not enamored with my owl.  It was just too belabored and stiff and trying to be symmetrical... So, I printed out a light copy of my trees and sketched some new owls over top of that.  And then I scanned that sketch, edited it, and printed it out so that I could color it...

The thing that I remember most about coloring the owls is that I was watching "My Soul to Take." Yes, heh-heh, while I was coloring a family of owls for a whimsical owl illustration I was watching a horror movie.  It happens a lot, as that is my preferred genre of movies.
So, anyway, I colored my owls and scanned them, and cut the scan all during the span of that movie.

Now, I needed some trees. I suppose I could have just colored the bark by hand. But that isn't what I had in mind.  In the spring, summer, and fall, I go into town and wander around and take all manner of photos.  And as I've mentioned before, I photograph all sorts of things - not necessarily with the intent that those are glamorous photos that need to be printed out and hung on the wall - but because I can use the content to fill in some part of a future illustration.
So, the owls are sitting on sycamore branches via the magic of photoshop: layer rotation and the rubber stamp tool. Yes, this is what the file tends to look like when I'm creating a fill from a photo (or several photos).

overcast orchid rain
The picture needed a background. So, I selection one of my watercolor paintings, and added the digital scan as a layer.  This was one of the salt on watercolor / gouache paintings - so it has both the salt crystal effect and dabs of white gouache spattered across it. Overall, it looks kinda snowy, so it was perfect.
Anyway, I added it to the picture and then adjusted the color to something more bluish - because I wanted the picture to have a cool wintery tone.

The next step was to add snowflakes.  Now there are actually 2 separate layers of snowflakes in this picture.  The snowflakes at the top of the picture were derived from all the snowflakes I design for Christmas cards. In fact, the layer used in this picture came from the file that I make the snowstorm backgrounds.

Now, the snowflakes on the bottom of the picture — and yes, there is actually a layer of snowflakes super-imposed over the bottom half of the picture — came from a different source: Winterwood.
Yes, the picture I used as the graphic for February on the calendar 2 years ago, which, yes, is named after the Don McLean song — that I happen to be very fond of. Anyway - I made a layer of snowflakes for the bottom of that picture - and decided to use them in "snow hootenanny" too.
So, all those parts come together to make the whole: sketches, drawings, salt on watercolor painting, photo walks, scary movies, colored pencils, ink pens, and snowflakes...


artangel said...

This is lovely, the background is gorgeous. The thought of you working on such adorable little owls whilst watching horror made me laugh!

Sher said...

The little owls are adorable and the background is perfect. It all came together nicely.

Bob Bushell said...

They are beautiful, and the work that is tremendous. Thank you very much.

TexWisGirl said...

wow! how pretty is that?! nice!!!

Virginia said...

This is great! I'd have no patience to go through those steps -- but you definitely have the desire, as well as the talent. And those owls are so darn cute! Thanks for dropping by today!