Wednesday, August 31, 2016

My 2nd Round Entry Process

I thought I would use my recent Global Talent Search entry "Naked Cake" & talk a little about my digital painting process and brainstorming.

Ever since participating in the 100 Day Art Challenge, I have been painting more flowers digitally. Some coming from my imagination & some from reference to achieve a higher level of contrast and more descriptive form. When I set out to come up with my cover design I wanted to pick a dessert image that I could incorporate some flowers into the design. I researched desserts that were a bit more trendy and came across the "Naked Cake". (Below is an example of the beautiful way of decorating this layered cake). I was also drawn to the soft pinks and greens found in this image.

In looking at various examples, the cakes that had little to no icing were the ones that I was most attracted to. All naked cakes have an icing or fruit filling on top of each layer. I started sketching and came up with my cake composition. I was drawn more to the simple and elegant arrangements which is why I decided to only add a couple of flowers and leaves to the top of the cake and have the berries arranged on the bottom. 

I first brought my sketch into Adobe Illustrator and created most of the shapes in the composition including the cake and jar. The Illustrator file was exported as a Photoshop file(keeping all the layers) and I then began to paint using the shapes as guides. I have gathered a big variety of digital textured brushes and round brushes over the years, and they came in handy in trying to create the icing and cake. Below is an example of the texture of some of my favorite brushes and brushes I used for the icing.

Textured Brush Samples
The most fun was painting the flowers. For the Chrysanthemum, I started with a very simple vector shape, that I filled with a light pink and then in Photoshop started painting in color, building all the many petals shapes inside of this complicated flower. I mostly used my favorite Round Point Stiff Brush for most of the detail, along with the hard and soft round brushes. Once the color and shape was painted, I used the Smudge Tool to smooth out and blend the color. For crisper edges, I used the Pen Tool to create the highlight shape and then added the color inside the selected shape. After I finished the initial painting of the flower, I then duplicated it and used Photoshop Blend Modes to change the chroma and contrast of the painted marks. One of the last steps I took, was to use a textured eraser tip and subtlety erase pixels to make it look a bit worn and softer. Below shows an early detail of the flower during the process, original reference as well as the finished flower.

For the background, I kept it more simple and light, in an effort to add an overall elegance and sophistication. My vision of Sunny's Cafe is that of a hip, sophisticated cafe that might exist in busy cities like New York or Paris. The border I created was inspired by these trendy storefronts. It might be hard to pick up from the monitor but there is also subtle texture patterns in the background of the book cover, I like added textured nuances but in this case, did not want to detract too much from the main focus of the cake. I really enjoyed painting this cover image and taking my time with each stage to experiment more with what I can create with my digital brushes.

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