Tania McCartney started the 52-Week Illustration challenge this year to reconnect with art. She asked people to join her and close to a 1000 people have signed up to participate.
''Professional or no, there is something truly wonderful about creating works of art. They don't have to be complicated or even mind blowing. They just have to be yours. When it comes to art, there is no such thing as right or wrong. Free yourself and get creative ... ''(Taken from the 52 week challenge blog).
Tania created a separate March challenge where she asks Australian members to illustrate a snippet of text for her upcoming picture book. Together with her publisher she hopes to find a new or existing talent to illustrate her new book. The challenge is ongoing till the end of March!
Here is the choice of text written by Tania McCartney:
Sometimes––a lot of sometimes––I want to smile. It could be … a spinning round-and-round smile.
Sometimes––just sometimes––I want to cry. It might be … an ice cream plopping-down cry.
I hope you were able to figure out which image went with the right bit of text.
There is amazing talent at the 52 week challenge and whether I have a chance or not to get noticed by her Publisher during the challenge doesn't really matter as it has been enjoyable just to create, learn and be part of such a supportive community.
Creating the Image
I always love seeing the work process of artists and illustrators, so as part of the challenge I thought I'd document and share my work process for the 'spinning round-and-round smile' image.
I start with sketches, working out ideas, just playing, doodling and having fun.
Then I used a black Copic Sketch marker to go over my pencil marks, and used the levels settings in Photoshop to create a nice clean image. I don't worry about using the eraser. I like the pencil marks coming through.
I scan these images into Photoshop.
In Photoshop I created separate layers for each chicken and separate layers for the background.
The chickens each get a 'line' layer, a 'white' (underpaint) layer and a 'colour' layer. For this image they all shared a 'shadow layer' and a 'detail' layer.
I give each layer a name in order to keep track of them, if not, chaos erupts!
I use level and hue saturation in a non destructive way to tweak the image here and there.
Lastly I added a stroke layer to emphasize the movement that wasn't coming up as well in the scan using the pen tool and stroking these.
To create the background, I used the pen tool to create the shapes.
I had previously made several watercolour and texture grounds and scanned them in to be used as 'textures'.
I love this feature as it allows you to 'paint' with texture and you can adjust the brush settings as usual in Photoshop.
Here is a screenshot of the final image with the layers. I also used Kuler (A Photoshop extension) as you can see on the image. This is a cool way to put together your colour palette.
I hope you enjoyed that, let me know if you have any questions!
For more illustrations I made for the 52 Week Illustration challenge, check out my Illustration page.
Tania also has a blog specifically about the challenge and features her artwork, processes and favourite images of the week.
Children's Writer and Illustrator