A few weeks ago I posted a sketch of an owl that was part of a personal project I was working on. Whelp…as my sis popped it up onto Facebook this morning, there is no need to hide it any longer. The piece I was working on was a poster for my soon-to-be-born nephew. We’ll just call him “Soon-For-This-World.”
My sis, Soon-For-This-Word’s soon-to-be-mother, has always been in love with a couple of line from Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man…”
To dance beneath the diamond sky
With one hand waving free
She asked me to create something using that lyric many moons ago to go in Soon-For-This-World’s bedroom. Beautiful imagery, but I had no idea how I was going to represent this for a baby/kid’s room. Starry sky…Cute animals…Dancing…Hand waving…ummmmm…
As always, I began by just drawing in my sketchbook until I came up with a concept that I liked. I liked the idea of the vivacious, free spirited owl (typically stoic and wise) and the tentative raccoon (typically sneaky or mischievous) playing against their idiosyncratic representations. The owl and raccoon worked out brilliantly, as both critters feature prominently in the decoration of Soon-For-This-World’s room (Got lucky on that one. Would have surely put my money down on turtles and frogs. Phew). I also wanted to incorporate maple leaves as these were thematic in my sister’s wedding. With all of the elements in place, I went on to thumbnail it out so that everything would fit on the page in a way that worked for me.
After that, put on some tunes and draw… and draw… and draw.
Once I had the drawing where I wanted it, I scanned it into the computer and painted it in Photoshop, using a mix of translucent water color and opaque pencil layers. The biggest challenge of this painting was keeping the characters front and center in a night environment that really called for a desaturated color scheme. Strong silhouettes and generously applied highlights seemed to solve get me past that particular hurdle.
Once that was done, it was off to the printer’s, buy a frame, and wrap that sucker up.
Now Soon-For-This-World’s daddy just needs to hang it up straight. 😉