Last summer, I was contacted by one of my lovely customers to make a portrait of her daughter, Orla. As I knew the client was interested in retro and vintage fashion and has quite eclectic taste, I really wanted to reflect this in the portrait! As soon as I had read her requests for the piece, I knew the sort of direction i wanted to take it in!
One of my biggest influencers artistically is fashion illustrator Rene Gruau. Most popular in the 1950s and 1960s, his work is incredibly colourful and chic. I've been a fan of his for a while now, and I think his work is so beautiful and stylish.
|All images belong to Rene Gruau- images found at https://uk.pinterest.com/quiquemaqueda/rene-gruau/|
Here's the initial sketch I sent-I knew she and her family were fond of nature so I wanted to fill the piece with wild flowers and leaves. I never seem to draw any flowers in particular-I quite enjoy improvising and making things up! The design was approved and I moved onto my favourite part- deciding on the colour scheme!
I wanted to step away from the colours so commonly associated with femininity (pinks and purples) and create a colour scheme that had a nod back to retrospective art as well as gender neutrality. Many of the artists that I adore use warm colour palettes- reds, oranges and yellows that feel friendly and cosy yet vivid, and I chose to do the same. I set about finding colours that compliment each other and the piece- I've always really loved creating colour combinations and seeing what fits the illustration!
This was the range of colours I decided on! One of my favourite colour combinations is orange and green, so I chose to try a combination of different shades of this idea! I chose a black background as this makes the brighter shades really stand out. I've seen how artists such as Tim Biskup and Johnny Hannah use black backgrounds, and fancied trying it myself!
Once I had my selection of colours, I sent a 'colour plan' to the client. This is a flat plan of what colours will go there, and gives the customer an opportunity to make any changes they'd like. Initially this was a one-off for the customer but is now available to all portrait customers!
I created this colour plan by dropping the initial sketch into Photoshop and digitally adding the shapes over the top. While this colour scheme was a bit of a gamble, the customer enjoyed the design, and so I began the final piece!
My process is mostly digital but occasionally I scan in or create textures to use as well, so many of them end up being mixed media pieces. I moved from traditional techniques to digital at the start of 2015, and while I have alot yet to learn, I'm finding the process much easier now! I made some tweaks to the initial drawing, and added more detail, until I came to the final image!
If you'd like me to make some art for you, head to my Etsy store, where I have a full range of personalised pieces! If you're looking for something not listed in my shop, simply get in touch at email@example.com or via Etsy, and I'd be happy to help!