Travel and Adventure Themed Digital Illustration


I’m currently working on a little experimental digital piece. I’m exploring ways of telling a story through environment and props, rather than character. This piece shows a corner of the little boys bedroom. He’s interested in travel, adventure, space and science, so I included a collection of globes, space posters and a camera.

I initially wanted to focus on textures again but got a little carried away with with the piece and didn’t get round to adding textures until the very end. The piece isn’t finished yet – I’ll work on it some more and see how it turns out.

I’m learning a lot while working on these digital illustrations. Even when the piece doesn’t turn out as I imagine, I’m learning new techniques and ways of working, and I’m really enjoying seeing an improvement in my pieces.

Bedroom Illustration Process

In yesterdays post I shared a new digital illustration that I’ve made as part of my uni work. I talked about some of the ideas behind why I made it and what I learnt from the experience.

Today I want to share some pictures of the work in progress…

I spent a while drawing and re-drawing the line work. I then started adding colour by using the gradient tool in photoshop.

The premise of the piece is a transition from day to night, so I was keen for the values to shift gradually from light to dark across the piece.

In an ideal world, if I could make the piece as I initially intended, the piece would have shifted from blue to maybe oranges or yellows, but as I explained in my last post, I stuck to blue to make the process a little more simple.

The main technique I used for the initial painting process was to create selections using the lasso tool in photoshop and add gradients to individual sections of the piece using the gradient fill tool.

For example, I added an overall gradient to the entire piece, then sectioned off the wall at the left and added gradients to that, then sectioned off the ceiling and added a gradient to that… taking into account the light source for each side.

I then started blocking in areas of colour using the brush tool and a textured brush. These are areas such as the characters, the bed, the bookcase, the toy chest etc.

I then started playing with textures like the ones I mentioned yesterday. In an upcoming post, I’ll be sharing how I produced the textured effects. Adding the textures was so much fun and completely changed the look of the piece. I’m looking forward to experimenting with more textures in future work.

Going forward, I’ve decided to shift the focus of this project a little. I’m currently working with my own story, inspired by the book The House That Sailed Away, and imagining that I am illustrating a children’s book for the story. Going forward, I’d like to work with the same story, but imagine that I am creating the initial visual development work for an animated film.

In my first year at uni, I thought I wanted to be a visual development artist, designing environments, props, scenery etc, but shifted focus in my second year to making paintings (similar to the paintings you’ll see if you know of my personal work).

The reason I feel the need to change the project slightly is that I feel I’ll gain more from it. Making pictures of¬†places is what I want to do after uni, whether that’s paintings or illustrations… I’m hoping this project will help me improve my ‘painting places skills’ and provide lots of new ideas of how I can paint places going forward…