Sunday, April 8, 2012

1. final mixed media banner illustration 2. final line art

There is no challenge more challenging
than the challenge to improve yourself. 

Michael F. Staley

Remember back a few weeks ago when I posted about the thrillingly, breathlessly, challenging & tres exciting illustration project that I was working on. A custom banner illustration for new friend & fellow designer, artist, crafty gal Sarah Hart. We met through gmail. Sarah bought a print of mine at most excellent Halifax stockist Inkwell Modern & emailed me to tell me she loved my work, told me about herself, her skills & wondered if might consider a barter or trade. Having a web site designed has been top of my mind for ages now so ... hooray ! we organized a trade.

In the end both my new web site & Sarah's illustration are collaborations. When the time arrived for Sarah to tell me what she was looking for from me - les Creative Brief - I must say I don't think I've ever received anything more thorough, crystal clear + inspiring - the tres rare, grand trifecta of any Creative Brief. Excellent art direction ! (and let me tell ya I've been art directed by many). She provided lots of notes & ideas, suggested colour palettes, & best of all a whole roster of reference & inspiration images of other art/illustrations that she loved all and I just happened to love also - the project became instantly thrilling & super challenging because of course I wanted to stun both she & myself with it's final glorious outcome.

The final line art (above) actually came super quickly - a direct result I'm sure of her amazing creative direction & clear communication. At this point in the project I was still breathing easy. It's when I began the actual conversion to colour, painting & collage that I began to slightly panic - just so many options to consider & because I create these images by hand, not digitally, it's not so easy to change something. I started with 2 small colour studies to try & get the hang of what the ratio of painting to collage would be. Sarah, continuing on the her path of most excellent client & seemed thrilled, cheering me on at every step & stage - another dream customer trait - uh huh !

In the end I'm happy with how it all turned out. I'm sure Sarah will tweak, change & alter many aspects of it digitally. I was able to give her something she couldn't create herself knowing full well she will use my final art as a stepping off point for her own creation. When she's finished with our illustration I suspect it will look different than what I've shown you here & I'm sure it will be much better & stronger, I can't wait to see what she does with it.

I think that's what a good collaboration must be - having little or no attachment with the final outcome. Having been a graphic designer for many years helps tremendously with that lack of attachment because in the end - it's her illustration - I've creating it for her, not for me. But ... the process - that's the part that was for me. The very best thing about this project - why it thrilled me from the get go - is not only is it another great portfolio piece but it's pointed me down a slightly new & sparkly, colourful, whimsical, nature inspired road that has me full of fantastic new ideas ... it's been a dream project.

I did the illustration large & in three sections giving me lost more size & room for detail. The left illustration, the right & the center typographic diamond then assembled them digitally.


  1. gorgeous...tres gorgeous
    gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous

  2. I am blown away. its gorgeous - I love the color palette, the joyous revelry of nature -its you super sized. It so good I feel a twinge of envy -and I know you know that is the highest of praise. I want to go to my studio right now! its better than Katie Daisy.

    And the new blog look is light and airy. I thinks its lovely. Ive been thinking of re-doing my blog to go on my website -we'll see. You inspire me. Happy Easter, superstar.xoxox

    (btw: the newsletter

  3. blushin' am I.
    Merci ! Merci !

    Katy Daisy was/is a huge, huge inspiration as is Anna Bond of Rifle paper & you too Chickory !! I was thinking you should offer a gouache e-course I would love to know how to work the paint like you do. Thanks also for the kick ass Ande Cook newsletter

  4. OMG.... truly, truly stunning indeed.
    tail wags,
    ~moose (wearing bunny ears today)

  5. It's brilliant, Susan. I'm in awe of it and think you should continue designing these. Uh huh Wowza! LOVE the bright colors, your flowers - overflowing with beauty! :)

  6. Lovely as always.

    I'm getting used to the new layout.

    Hey, did you get a dump of snow last night too ?

  7. thanks y'all - & yes Sybil we awoke to a wild, wintry blizzard - blue sky sunshine & much melting currently xo S + gang

  8. Whimsical is the perfect description for this banner, love the colours and especially the little grasshopper!

  9. As usual, I am playing catch-up on your blog! This piece is AWESOME!!!!
    You are a ROCKET headed for the sun!!! WOW!! I know your friend is ECSTATIC!!!

  10. That is totally awesome - you must be thrilled. I can't stop looking at it :)


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