Winter’s Embrace


As we here in Philly thaw a bit from the snow, I wanted to post one of my greeting card designs. When I was a kid one of my fondest memories was a family trip to the Poconos for the holidays. My entire family, as well as many of my aunts, uncles and cousins embarked on a journey to the mountains for Christmas. It was magical; snow covered tree tops, a real fireplace to hang stockings and the best sledding ever. For a kid from the city this was like stepping into a Currier and Ives card. It was also year I got an art desk from Santa. All and all just about the best Christmas any kid could ask for.
At the mountain house there was a lake that had froze over. I was amazed and petrified of this; too many movies of kids and heroes falling through the ice for my adolescent brain to handle.  It is an image that always stuck with me and would later serve as inspiration for several holiday designs including this one.
Above: The finished design for an ice skating polar bear holiday card.
Below: The steps I used to achieve the finished look.
Step 1: Always start with the sketch. A rough thumbnail of the overall concept.

Step 2: The sketch is transferred to watercolor paper and roughly blocked in. The colors are taken to about the halfway point before the painting is scanned in.

Step 3: The painting is scanned in and darks are added. Digital “glazing” helps to push the  palette and make the colors  more dynamic.

Step 4: The sketch is placed on the top layer to regain the outline. I also added a texture (crinkled xerox) to the ice.

Step 5: Let it snow! Two layers of white splatter are added at different sizes. One layer is blurred slightly to add depth.

Step 6: The type is drawn out and inked then scanned in and converted to white and a cast shadow is added.

Step 7: The design is prepped and placed in a template, a piece of the design is selected for the back of the card along with artist credit. A shout out to Harry Potter and Dr. Who for the scarf inspiration.
(Click on images for a larger view.)

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6 thoughts on “Winter’s Embrace

  1. Pingback: Winter is Here to Stay. « Art by Patch

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