Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Illustration Friday - Mesmerizing

I had several ideas for this week's 'Illustration Friday,' which this week is the word "mesmerizing." The idea I ended up using came to me while I was sitting in an auto-shop waiting room, waiting to get my oil changed and my tires rotated. There was a big screen TV in the room that was set to a channel playing old sitcoms. I had brought a book to read, but I had a hard time concentrating on it. The giant TV, which was showing an old episode of 'Bewitched,' was so mesmerizing that I found my eyes constantly drifting away from my book to look at the screen. Since there was no one else in the room, I finally got up and turned the sound down, which helped a little as far as concentrating on my book went.

So, from that experience I came up with the idea of a waiting room filled with children. All of the children in the room, with the exception of one little girl, find the TV to be mesmerizing. The child who is not watching the TV, is mesmerized by her book and would rather read.  This is my first image that I started and finished using the new Painter 12 upgrade (I did take a side trip into Photoshop to add some filters, but more about that in a minute).

Since it's small enough to fit in my pocket, I almost always carry my camera with me.  For this illustration I consulted a reference photo that I took while in the auto-shop waiting room (see photo at right). From there, I made a digital sketch. I knew I wanted to have the little girl and her book off to one side of the image, so I started by arranging the chairs and figures. After the initial sketch, I did another one where I refined the figures and darkened the lines.

Once I was happy with the sketch, I started doing some coloring. On a separate layer, I filled the canvas with a soft yellow color to give the image some overall warmth. Then, using the Digital Watercolor 'New Simple Water' brush, I began to color in the background and shapes. You can see my progress in the images below (Click on any image to see it larger).

As I worked, I created lots of layers so that I would have the flexibility of changing the opacity of different objects and adding special filters to some areas.  When everything was colored, I saved the image as a Photoshop file and then opened the image in Photoshop CS4.  In Photoshop, I used a third-party filter called Mister Retro (made by Permanent Press) to add some speckled texture to the various layers of color. The second to the last image in the progression (see below), shows the image with all of the coloring finished in Painter, prior to adding the filters. The last image in the progression shows a screen shot of the finished image, re-opened in Painter, after the Mister Retro photoshop filters had been applied. In this image, you can see all of the layers I created while working. I reopened the image in Painter in order to add some shadows on the little girl and under the chairs. I created the shadows on their own layer and painted them using Painter's Smart Strokes 'Textured Chalk' brush.


  1. I like your idea for the topic and your illustration. The clear, flat colors really appeal to me. Funny...I was just in an auto-repair waiting room recently and everybody was just staring at the TV, mesmerized! I can relate to the little reading girl. She was me. I like your illustration style very much. And thanks for visiting my blog! :)

  2. I'm mesmerized by your work. Great job, and thanks for sharing your process.

  3. So true!! I think everybody gets sucked in by television... unless you don't have one. (Those oh so brave people!!) Love this piece - modern yet has a fantastic classic/old school sort of look. Great work!

  4. Great post, I admire the writing style :) A little off topic here but what theme are you using? Looks pretty cool.