Work in Progress: Postcard from Buenos Aires
Sunday, April 27, 2014
I hope you all had a fantastic weekend! I've been feeling SO inspired lately, with the redesign of Travel Write Draw, my Blogging for Fashion Business course at FIT, and some much needed critical feedback on my illustration portfolio. I've been painting, practicing, and experimenting more than ever before these days and I can't wait to share the results with you here. One thing I don't do often on Travel Write Draw, is showcase to you all the process behind my pieces. After painting the illustration for Postcard from Rio de Janeiro, and my FIT classmates wanting to know more about the behind the scenes of its creation, I thought it would be really interesting to show the steps that go into illustrating an original Meagan Morrison piece.
Above are four images I snapped this weekend while conceptualizing and drafting my upcoming Buenos Aires postcard. The creative juices are flowing, as are the watercolor inks, and I couldn't be happier. My process for this piece went a little something like this:
1. Collect Inspiration Tears - After returning from this BIG trip, I immediately engrossed myself in all the inspiration, imagery, research, and trend forecast reports I could find on Buenos Aires, in combination with my own photographs and illustrations. I started to narrow in on one or two key concepts from the trip, things that really spoke to me. Ultimately what I hope to achieve in creating these postcards is a very curated diary of the very best of a city. I want my readers to feel as though they were there right along with me. In the end, it was the beautiful colored houses of La Boca, and sensual tango dancers of Buenos Aires, that stayed with me in my mind and heart long after I left. I also couldn't help but envision the stunning sculptural silhouettes of Rosie Assoulin's FW14 collection sashaying through the city streets. Everything combined felt like the best depiction I could offer of this culturally rich place.
2. Start Drafting - Once I figured out that La Boca would be the backdrop to my contemporary Rosie Assoulin fashion figures, I started taking my references and cracking open my sketchbook. I really wanted to push my boundaries with this postcard. La Boca was such a visually stimulating place filled with so much color and character, I really wanted to bring that to life. I grabbed some colored paper and started to collage the big primary colorblocks of La Boca. With the figures I started to imagine them layered onto the collage and having their bodies defined by both the background and graphic stripes of their garments. This influenced what lines I decided to include and exclude while sketching them. Once I settled on the final silhouettes in my sketchbook, I transferred the figures onto tracing paper to prepare to paint.
3. Take Sketches to Final - Since I don't have a lightbox, I always use the traditional pencil transfer method and draw over my traced final to get the led on my watercolor paper. I went over that lightly with a brown colored pencil and started my favorite process - PAINTING!! This is where the magic happens. I was careful to leave my whites, truly white this time because the garments where going to be completed during the final stages in photoshop.
4. Scan, Photoshop, and Post - When the final watercolors and La Boca collage were complete, I took them to the scanner to then be dropped into Photoshop for their final touch stage. This is where I adjust the levels, colors, proportions, hue, saturation, and begin the process of layering the figures onto the background. This step is truly the problem solving step. You are the master behind your composition. I had to really play around with it to make the figures work in combination with the colorful collage of La Boca.
And there you have a glimpse into the process behind a single postcard here on Travel Write Draw. Now it's time to import all the photos and prep the content for the actual postcard post. Are you excited?! I know I certainly am. The photographs I took in Buenos Aires are some of the most beautiful I have from around the world. Watch this space because Postcard from Buenos Aires is coming soon!! Oh and don't forget, if you have any questions about my process for this piece or any other piece, just leave your comments below.