This illustration is a wedding gift to my dear friends who are getting married this weekend. They are young farmers so I wanted to build the painting around that theme. The painting itself will be printed without the logo, which I added just for fun – it would make a nice poster ad for that tractor company, wouldn’t it ? 🙂 I also enclosed sketches and few notes as to how illustrations like these are made.
I start with doodling simple shapes on a piece of paper (A4) with colored pencil, trying to find a composition which has some dynamics to it. I always use masking tape to attach new sheets of paper to the sides and I keep expanding the scene until it has enough depth. Once the composition is in place I scan the drawing and retrace it in photoshop, fixing perspective and other issues along the way. The image below is the finished sketch.
When the sketch is finished, I fill my canvas with about 30% gray, and begin defining the the overall light of the scene. In this case I’ve positioned the sun to the back of the scene as if the couple is driving off to the night. Once the landscape is defined I play with darks and lights to create contrasts, e.g. bride vs groom and so on.
When basic black and white lighting is done I quickly move to color. I create a new layer, set its blending mode to color and paint main hues to fit the mood (and weather). These two images represent quite a quick process, albeit the most important one. If I don’t get my lights and my color tones right during this part, there is little chance of good result in the end.