So, I decided to create a steampunk birthday card.
In case anyone was interested, I thought I'd make a post explaining some of my decision-making throughout the process.
Click "Read more" to... well... read more!
The decisions in this card were all very simple and, to be honest, it was quite a simple card to do.
I had couple of ideas about this. I knew I wanted to use the idea of a hot air balloon being a birthday balloon but didn't know whether I wanted to have a Coggington in the balloon, or interacting with it some way else.
When Izzy suggested having him holding onto the balloon, it sounded perfect and I liked the idea of it yanking him off his feet which went on to lend itself to the caption inside of "Don't Get Carried Away!"
I began with my now standard process of starting up a Pinterest board for the card and collected ideas and references and so on.
I took a few photos outside work of the sky, and downloaded a sheet of typewriter keys:
I'm a little disappointed I used a downloadable pack for the keys. I would rather have photographed them myself but I had a time restriction because I wanted one of these ready for someone's birthday, and I didn't have time to find and photograph a typewriter. Maybe one day...
I isolated the keys I wanted and digitally cut them out from their background and arranged them, set up my drawing space with my regular Coggington grungey frame, then laid down my photograph of tea-stained paper with a blue colour layer over the top of it for a placeholder for the sky.
Then I pencilled in the design and lay down flat colours, just to see that it worked as a concept.
It seemed good, so I refiined the pencils to 'inks', digitally.
The photo I took of the sky was good, but a little too clearly defined so I blurred it up, then to give it some interest, I added some fake bokeh effect as described in this tutorial at Obsidian Dawn's website.
I considered cutting the trees out as they were a distraction, but decided against this as they give the pic a vague point of reference and suggest it isn't happening in a vacuum.
"Bokeh" is the way a camera lens renders out of focus points of light and is often considered to be aesthetically pleasing so I wanted a little here in the trees.
Then I filled in the flat colours, and the shadows which was quite fiddly around the balloon's rigging, but nothing too complicated.
I had no idea how to create the flames and the glow of them in the balloon so I had a close look at photo references to see how the flames appear in hot air balloons and then hand drew the flames and the glow effects.
Once I'd done that, it was mostly a case of adding textures to the drawing:
There is a crinkled paper texture (that I often use from a photograph I took after screwing up, then straightening out a sheet of new A4 paper) all over but carefully masked to reduce its intensity over the key areas of the drawing.
Likewise with a tea-stained paper texture I created and often use.
There's also a rusted metal applied to Geoffrey Coggington in separate sections such as torso, left leg, head, foot-bottom etc. I applied the texture and warped it to vaguely fit the contours of his body. For this purpose, I didn't need to map the texture to every contour of his body.
I also applied a flat rusty metal texture over all of Geoffrey, masked it to just the 'ink' outline, and brought up it's intensity while getting rid of the actual inks. This means his outline isn't entirely solid but made just of a rusty metal image.
I popped some shadows behind the typewriter keys and fiddled with their colour levels to make them fit in with the rest of the picture and added some lens flare across Geoffrey and this card was done!
I couldn't decide whether I liked it darker or lighter so I produced both and put it to a Facebook poll.
The darker one won by quite a large margin, but I have sold a few of the lighter ones too so it would seem there's a place for both!
The card is available now in my Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/capndred
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