Commissioned Summer Work

I got asked by a friend of my sister to make a Holy Family art poster, that she would gift to some new parents who are adopting. I had already made one Holy Family poster for my sister’s nursery about a year ago. Since the child being adopted is black, the Holy Family would need to be changed slightly for the skin color. But I also wanted to take the chance to change some of the things I did not like about the first piece. The texture I used was a hassle, I wanted to make it with vector first, and I wanted to change the colors overall.

Let me first say, I like making random genre art, and I love seeing great characters and illustrations, but I am not an illustrator. I knew that pretty early through time in college. I am more the designer: layouts, typography, and color. So the style of these characters is pretty abstract with shapes that have texture over them. The first Holy Family I did was a faceless figured one, and with this one I wanted to attempt to add on some abstract faces as well.

I started this journey just looking into different avenues for texture. Before I did everything in Photoshop and the texture was a huge watercolor brush that I imprinted everywhere. I didn’t want that so I was looking on Youtube for different options. I could do all vector, even the texture, but textures in vector are complicated and layered. Then I found the right tutorial about Photoshop texture, it was all about grain, using a grainy brush, adding noise, and using the distort filter.

Then I had to tackle the faces. I am the type of person that doesn’t have the most active imagination, but if I look at a bunch of great examples I can combine those ideas to get a better idea for my project. So, I was on Pintrest, looking up paintings of black women to find a good color scheme, looking up Holy Family images to get the position and hair right, and looking up illustrated characters to find a type of abstract face I could try. I got all of them on a board on my laptop and was planning to just go at it in illustrator, but that is very complicated. Copying and pasting it all and tracing and adjusting in illustrator takes forever with all the references I had. So I broke out my sketchbook. It went so much quicker, I could try a style in five seconds and move on to the next immediately no vector handles to manipulate.

After I got the vague design for the faces I started making up the idea in illustrator. I wanted this design in vectors because it would be so much easier to go back and change things, then finish it out in Photoshop for texturing. So far I have almost finished the design, the figures are good but I am not yet satisfied with the bottom and how their clothes end. I am thinking of adding grass and flowers at their feet, but I am a lot happier with the changes I added on to this second version.

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