I’ve had a crazy 48 hours, and I meant to post this yesterday, but here it is today, our March themed wallpaper. Yet again collaborating with Alyssa Nassner and her site Ten Paces and Draw, she’s gathered together two amazing artists to create this month’s wallpaper, Marisa Segion and Julianna Brion. Julianna did the initial sketch and then Marisa took it to it’s final state, the beautiful piece of art you see above. I asked Marissa to talk about about her process, and she was gracious enough to give us the run down.
Hi everyone! I’m thrilled that Ten Paces and Draw and The Fox is Black asked me to do a process post to share a bit about how the March desktop collaboration came together. I always love getting a sneak peek into the way some of my favourite illustrators work so I was flattered to be asked to put this together.
I usually start with a really rough sketch in photoshop so I can get a relative idea of where shapes are going to be laid out. I’ve never been a very big sketcher unless I have to for a client to clearly communicate my ideas. I tend to work things out as I’m going along. Most of the time this works out fine but sometimes there are a few snags compositionally/colour wise that I wish I had worked out more clearly in early stages.
Sometimes I’ll just block in a few shapes lightly to get a clearer idea of weight distribution throughout the piece. Then I’ll start to block in the main shapes.
Next, I add all of the line details and watercolour areas. I fiddle around a lot with colour balance at this point. I usually have a general colour palette in mind when I start a project (I knew I wanted to keep this desktop fresh with lots of bright greens. One of my favourite parts about spring is the week of bright yellow-greens when the new leaves budding on trees) but there are always a lot of little tweaks to be made to the palette in my head. The type usually gets added in sometime around now so that I can play with the balance of word/image and decide how I should colour it.
While working on this, I felt the entire piece was getting too green and wanted to add some punches of colour. I experimented with a few places to see how these could work in the overall balance of the piece. The clovers, flags, and mug were all various shades of the rainbow while working on this. The background was also light blue for about half of the time I was working on it. (There was even a tiny clump of mushrooms beside the mug at one point that were scrapped later).
The hue slider is my best friend in Photoshop. My friends can vouch that I am a complete hue slider fiend. I’ll use this tool if I am feeling stuck about something, getting tired of looking at my illustration, or if I feel I am nearing completion and want to see if there are any little colour possibilities I could have missed. Naturally, parts of my illustration always look ghastly when the hue is shifted and others look great. I like to fiddle with this throughout my working process and usually little shifts make it into the final illustration (which was the case for the leprechaun’s beard in this project).
At the very last stages, I added the coloured leaves which was just enough colour to get that pop that I was looking for. I also added the dotted lines in the background do give it a bit more depth and interest. This turned out to be one of those pieces that came together relatively easily. Little changes that were made throughout the process ended up just reverting to the original ideas and in the end a lot of my initial designs just ended up being right for the illustration. Sometimes you just gotta go with your gut!
Hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into the way I work and thanks to Ten Paces and Draw and The Fox is Black for having me! And many thanks to my partner in crime on this, Julianna Brion, for the fantastic sketch!
A huge thank to Alyssa, Marisa and Julianna for getting together yet another awesome wallpaper. This is certainly a delightful way to bring your desktop into spring.