Birthday #5

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One of the cool things about being a parent is throwing birthday parties. It’s always fun to discuss the theme of the party, who to invite, what kind of cake to get/make. All that jazz. This year, my son had a difficult time deciding what “kind” of party to have. One day he wanted Star Wars. The next day he wanted Transformers… so on and so forth. You get the idea. So, he and I began to brainstorm who his favorite characters were and decided “why not have a party with all of them?” So, that’s what we’re going to do!

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My official responsibility with all birthdays is to design the birthday invite. So I spent some time doing some thumbnails of different characters in various compositions. Because I chose to do characters with varying scales, I had a difficult time finding the right way to show them all together. My son is about 4 feet tall, whereas Optimus is about 20-30 feet tall. So, the challenge was to fit both of them together onto a card that would be about 5 x 7 when produced. I finally landed on this little sketch as a way to show all of the characters together. I’ll just hide everyone behind a big 5 and cheat their scale!

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After doing a few more rough drawings, I began laying out this final design. I felt confident that this would be a fun piece and that my son (and more importantly my wife) would love it. “Um… we aren’t having pizza.” “Who said anything about pizza?” “You drew that turtle and cat eating pizza. People will expect pizza.” “NO ONE QUESTIONED VAN GOGH! LEAVE NOW!”

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This is the final drawing before being scanned into Photoshop. The black is not ink, but black pencil. I’m still experimenting with various outlines (ink vs. no ink, vs. pencil, vs. digital tracing) and chose to do the cleanup with black pencil. I think the result was okay. I’m not sold on it.

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I have been working with more watercolor styled brushes in Photoshop lately, and decided that this piece would be colored using those brushes. Lots of “washes” of 10-20% opacity. This shot shows what the colors looked like underneath the outline. Lots and lots of building colors, much like you would do traditionally. It’s a different approach from my usual vector work, and I’m starting to like it. It’s fun. Makes you feel like an “artist”.

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So! Here’s the final piece! Happy fifth birthday to my sweet boy. Thanks for reading!


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