I've been trying to decide what my first blog post should be about. Something catchy? Something super informative? Something to draw attention? Blah blah blah. Truly the purpose of my adding a blog to my website isn't so much about being the biggest and the best. It's more about being myself, sharing what inspired me and makes my creative brain tick, what makes my art my own.
Once I've selected my photo I create a new art file (I use Procreate on my iPad!) and load the photo. Then I create a new layer above the photo and use a light colored pen to trace the general composition. This allows me to capture the shapes and proportions of the elements.
I can then hide the original photo layer and just view the line art I've created. I like to use a neutral background for this process as it's easier on the eyes and allows me to see what I have to work with before committing to a color scheme.
At this point I like to clean up the composition by creating a second version of the line art. This allows me to simplify as needed and keep the level of detail I want. Here you can see before and after the line art is simplified. I also added the tree and bird to the foreground for depth.
Now I'm ready to start pulling the composition together. Basically each individual section or section of elements gets its own texture(s). Sometimes it's just one, other times it may be several layered in one area at different levels of opacity. I create a new layer and fill in one of the closed spaces with a solid color. Then I reference that layer, add the desired texture layers over it and create a clipping mask so that the texture only shows in the space of the shape.
This process is repeated endlessly until the entire composition is filled. Working in layers can be confusing at times but having each element on its own layer allows me to move things around, change opacity and blend modes, saturation, size, color, order, overlap, etc. It means every element can be individually edited until I'm happy with the finished product.
Here is just a small sample of some of the images & textures that were used in this composition. I want to share the individual pieces of the puzzle because I don't think people always understand what goes into a finished piece unless they see the elements laid out in their original form.
I know the process can sound confusing to someone who's unfamiliar with digital collage and working in layers. It's basically like if you were to draw a picture but you put each element on a different sheet and then stacked them together. Some of those sheets transparent, some solid, some color, some black and white, with a bunch of photos thrown in there to keep things interesting. ;)
I hope this peek into the process has been interesting for you. Comments are welcome! (High five to anyone who can see where my kiddos hair texture was used!)
First blog post is now officially in the books!