Inky Illustrations Postcard

Inky Illustrations Postcard - student project

Hello Tom!

I had so much fun with this class! I often combine traditional and digital media in my work, and this was a really fun and exciting way to keep exploring that.

I gave myself a few parameters in approaching this project: 1) keep things light and fun! I have a tendency to stress over small details, and while that can be a really good attribute for client work, it gets in the way of my creating just for fun. So don't overthink things too much! 2) Keep it to a 3-colour palette, with large blocks of colour similar to a screen print. I chose a 90% black like you suggested, a robins-egg-y colour, and a mustard colour. In the end, I wasn't totally successful with this idea of making it print-ready for silkscreening, but I'm still really proud of the finished result :)


To start, here is my sketch. I had a pretty good idea of what objects I wanted to combine already, since they're the ones I use most often: a bottle of sumi ink, a small round paintbrush, my Strathmore mixed media sketchbook, my double-ended brush pen (I can't remember the brand, but I think it's Pentel?), my Ohto lead holder, and my favourite mug. I didn't want to overthink things too much, so I played around with placement on my dining table, and then sketched the layout I was happiest with.


Inky Illustrations Postcard - image 1 - student project


I actually created my vector shapes in Illustrator, rather than Photoshop. I find the pen tool to be a lot more intuitive in AI, and I'm definitely more practiced with it, so I figured I'd use that method to - again - keep things quick and fun. I created the shapes in AI, grouped the layers of each colour, and then brought them into PS as 3 layers (one for each colour). My mug is sort of an off-white colour, which I thought would be hard to represent with a light background (I was right!), so to just give my brain a visual placeholder, the mug shape is a sort of light beige at this stage. I made some adjustments to the final composition, and continued on!


Inky Illustrations Postcard - image 2 - student project


I created a LOT of different textures, mostly to try and find a solution for the mug - everything else came pretty naturally, but I generated a ton of washes, dry brush textures, sponge textures, etc. to sample from, for the mug. I really enjoyed the lettering component of these objects (something I love to do in general!), and getting my hands all inky is always enjoyable :)


Inky Illustrations Postcard - image 3 - student project


Most of the marks I made, I knew specifically where I wanted them to go, and overall, my postcard came together really quickly and easily. But for the mug (this was the real albatross!) I think I tested about 15 different versions and layers and layers of textures before I landed on something I was happy with. 

Here is the final postcard:


Inky Illustrations Postcard - image 4 - student project


I'm overall really pleased with the way that this turned out! I'm especially proud of that bottle of sumi :)

For the mug, I eventually got to a point where I was feeling really stuck in trying to solve this problem, and I landed on a solution that I was 90% happy with, so decided to call it finished. It was a tough call to make, because it doesn't quite work as a screen print in the physical world, but perhaps someday I'll come back to this and be able to find a different solution.

Looking at it after letting it rest for a few days, I actually feel better about it - it reminds me a bit of Jon Klassen's work, which I'm A-OK with! Love his work! But if you (or anybody in the class) has any suggestions about how to rework this idea so that it still represents the overall shape, I'd love to hear them!


Thanks again for teaching this class, Tom, I had a ton of fun with it, and you've really encouraged me to keep exploring illustration. I can't wait to dive into some more of your classes!