This was created for the summer cover of GreenPrints magazine. The only perimeters were the dimensions of the cover and it had to be about summer gardening.
Above are the rough sketches. I usually don't add color but considering that GP is a black and white magazine with ONE color image I feel it's worthy to take the extra time.
I wanted to get the warm summer feeling across and felt the first one showed more about gardening than the others. Pat, the AD, agreed and he decided to go with the nesting dolls. On another note, he posted these comps online for reader feedback and the butterfly was first choice. What does that mean? It means that I may want to revisit the idea again but with more emphasis on the gardening aspect and not the end product of a garden. (Many ideas are already churning in this head)
I used nesting dolls because I felt they keep on giving, similar to a summer garden in the height of abundance. In addition I wanted to add numerous people of all kinds. This was a way to incorporate the human diversity as well as the garden diversity. Pat also read it as a connectivity among gardeners which works perfectly with the message he likes to get across to his readership.
I started with scanning the sketch and dropping it into Adobe Illustrator. I created vector flat shapes in order to figure out basic color and placement. I then transferred it into Corel Painter where I started to add the features of the main character.
I then had a lot of fun painting flowers and textures. I sometimes extract a flower like the dahlias and poppies so I can use them in product design on Society6 or sell them as pendants on Etsy. I'm all about using the illustration to it's full potential and creating several avenues of income from one image.
At the end I added rays but was unsure if I really needed them. I added directionals in some prior pieces and liked what they did but didn't want all my pieces to depend on that element. So I sent both off to Pat and let him choose. He couldn't decide so he posted them on Facebook so he could get some feedback from his readers. It was almost a tie but he chose to go without the rays. Some of the comments mentioned that the rays added the additional summer element of sun while other comments pointed out that the focus became more on the spade and not the gardeners as a whole.
Neither is right or wrong.....just depends on what you want the focus to be on. Considering that Pat wanted to showcase connectivity and diversity it was best to choose the version without rays.
Below is a time lapse of the process showing my files from 00-12. Thanks for reading and enjoy!
Visit my new shop on Society6!