I have been asked a few times how I do my artwork... What is it? Is it a painting? Is it Photography? Is it purely digital? If it's digital then how can I sell originals because they are all printed copies, surely?
So, I decided to break down the process for you so that you can see how it's done and explain how I separate originals from copies.
Stag - February 2016
Dog illustration taken from 'Love Online' sequence - January 2012
It's a completely organic process that involves a lot of happy accidents and playing with textures in PS (Photoshop). Over my years as a Graphic Designer I have built up a library of background textures, some of which I painted myself using acrylic paints on canvas, some have been purchased from image websites (if you want some advice on which ones to use then please feel free to send me an email but I'm not going to plug them here!). I use them to build up the background texture and layering them up with different images. Here's the background to the stag picture above with nothing else applied. I have used a peeling paint photo and applied colour over the top with some dust and scratches to give it character.
Then I start to layer in parts of photographs. Some of the photos come from my husband, Geoff, some are taken by my Mum (thanks Mum!) and some have been taken by me, using my phone on a high res setting - nothing fancy, they are just to add depth and interest. Here you can see that I have used some fern and cow parsley from the hedge along our wall, the branches from a tree up on the moors about 300yds from where we live and down the right hand side, the texture is created using a photo of some gorse (there is a LOT of gorse on the moors where we live) and overlay effects applied in PS.
Finally I focus on my subject, in this case, the stag. I use a graphics tablet and rough in the outline and then build up the fur and shading using fine brushes in PS. Sometimes I use more textures in the background and just continue to build it up until it looks about right. No hard and fast process, just playing with textures and brushes until I'm happy with the result. If I can get a photograph of the subject then that's very useful but not essential.
Then add the subject into the picture and drink a lot of coffee to celebrate the fact that it's finished!
So, how do I define what's an original and what's a print? Well all my originals are produced on Aluminium Dibond, which comes in a variety of finishes that all add to the appearance and character of the picture, sometimes on wood and occasionally I might choose canvas. A lot of the time I might only ever print one, especially if it's a commissioned piece and my client doesn't want copies to be made. If it's a piece I'm particularly pleased with then I might do a limited edition, signed print run and these are ALWAYS on paper. (Photo opposite of Dibond swatches taken using my trusty phone - not bad eh?)
There are a few early originals knocking around that were printed on watercolour paper - these are the exception, if you have one then I promise that I won't reproduce it, EVER! (Dan, Nell, Steph and Geoff!)
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