Wilderness Lessons

I was asked to create an illustration of a wilderness scene. After kicking around some ideas that were mostly Photoshop image composites, I was asked to do something with natural media.

I painted the background with gouache and a smidge of a  new long-drying acrylic sample I had on hand from a local art store. I painted directly onto some computer paper which I had taped onto a portable lap desk. I kept working the image over adding color before moving on to texture.

I ended up incorporating some paper towel into the painting (the mountain range, lower left corner, and area behind the tree). I sponged the painting with paper towel and flicked paint to add more texture. I wanted a really physically tactile painting.

When I was happy, I moved on to the tree which I painted in a similar fashion on a different piece of paper. On the version shown here I actually created a negative out of the drawing of the tree. I liked the contrast and openness; the Joshua tree is almost a doorway into something beyond the desert landscape.

I created some texture to scan using bubble wrap and cellophane, scanned every thing and brought it into Photoshop for compositing. When I scanned the background, I placed piece of cellophane directly on the glass, creating some interesting reflection lines which I liked.

I played around with layers and blending modes and added some texture with a custom brush and incorporated a gradient overlay.

I sent the client 4 variations but like this one the best overall.

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