Sometimes on Instagram, friends and fellow artists will share their ideas and processes with one another. Somewhere in the middle of promoting my most recent painting I thought it would be fun to show my process in detail on my blog. It is SO detailed, I could not do it any where else I can think of now. Maybe a video?
1. The painting begins with inspiration. We see something we think is beautiful, we wonder in our hearts and minds how we would paint it. We decide to try it.
2. Art supplies are brought out and we face a bank white paper with pencil and we start.
I already know I want to do a botanical style with this flower so I mentally divide my paper into 3rds (horizontal and vertical) and place the focal point flower at the 3rd grid..where they intersect. I start drawing. Once I get the pencil drawing where I think I want it I put it on my light table and go over it in pen and ink. (I know that bud is waaaay out of balance and proportion, but I didn't see it until I had painted it.) And when I did realize it didn't belong, I knew I could edit it out in Photoshop so I continued to finish the painting.
3. The painting is done using the live flowers as my example for colors. This is the best part! It is sometimes just pure fun, some times a struggle, but always a learning experience.
4. The painting is scanned now and taken into Photoshop for editing. The background watercolor paper is removed, and the goal is to get the image to look as close to the original painting as possible. At this point I am just editing out lines that I don't want there, or paint strokes that need cleaning up...maybe too far out of the lines. I tried my best to include that bud because I really like the way it turned out and the painting needs 3 elements to look balanced. . . but I just couldn't make it work.
5. Now the painting is taken to Illustrator to be prepared for layout and printing. To me it seems the flowers are so much brighter than the leaves, so I highlighted just the flowers and changed their saturation to minus 30. That made my eye feel there was balance in the color composition. I was still missing a third element, though, so I added a butterfly from my archives. I also found a place on the card behind my logo to place that bud I liked. :) Now satisfied, the print testing begins.
6. The final prints take a lot of printing, testing and tweaking again in Photoshop. The colors will look a little different depending on the paper used. So, back to Photoshop to tweak the settings, then back to Illustrator to print test again and again until they finally look as close as possible to the original painting. Even better sometimes!
But the work isn't done yet, because if the goal is to promote them and sell them, there will need to be a good photo of the finished printed pieces. So now with my iPhone I take lots of photos and back to Photoshop I go to tweak the photos until I'm satisfied they look as good as I can make them look.
Did you noticed that all of the photos I have on this blog page have my copyright notice on them? Photoshop is used for that too.
So, now the photos of the finished piece can be shown on Etsy, Instagram, or what ever social media I choose, so my art can be seen.
7. But wait! There's still more to do if I want to make the prints into products. For me, the products are cards and art prints. Now comes the...
...stuffing into plastic sleeves with a little write up about who I am and where I'm from....
All the paperwork I generated for the design such as drawings, paint swatches, layout notes, pen and ink drawings, printing tests are all put into a clear plastic file folder so I can easily find it when I need it. And finally.....
...filed away where I can easily get to it when I want it fast.
Whew! That's a lot. I am surprised myself how much work each product generates. If you want to see this simple design you can go to my Etsy site, or you can go to Made in Chico where you can see it in person.