Thursday, May 24, 2012

Illustration Friday - Sight


For Illustration Friday, I always start with an image size of 8x10 inches at 300 ppi; this gives me a standard and eliminates one decision right at the beginning, so I can focus on what I want to put on the canvas. I gathered a selection of eye close-ups from stock.xchng and just started dragging them on to my background, arranging and resizing them until I got a composition I liked. They're all set either to Pin Light or Hard Light blend mode and they each have a mask that I used to remove everything but the eyes. I could have erased, but a mask is non-destructive, so you can change it or tweak it if need be. I also slightly adjusted the hue and saturation on some of them. The triangular "rays" were paths drawn with the pen, loaded as selections and filled with a foreground-to-transparent gradient, then blurred slightly. The circles around the title Sight were selections loaded as paths and then stroked with different brushes. At that point, I think I could have declared it finished, it did have a nice, clean graphic look. But I'm a more-is-more sort of person, so I put a couple of cloud photos on top of the white background layer and set them to Hard Light at 30% opacity. And – why not? – I added a couple more photos of shrubbery on top of that, one set to Lighter Color at 60% opacity, and the second the Color Burn at 70% opacity; they add just a little more texture and color variation.

So there it is, my May Illustration Friday. Actually, nothing very challenging about it. It's a bit like what I had in my mind's eye, but only a bit. I never know where one of these exercises will take me, and sometimes I come to like an image much better later than when I first completed it. But the point is the process: to create, to enjoy, to stretch your mind, and, just maybe, if all the stars are aligned, to come away with a piece of "art" that merits your own internal nod of approval.

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