Sunday, April 4, 2010

LLS: Man & Woman of the Year Campaign

Each year, many local chapters of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society hold a fundraising campaign called the Man & Woman of the Year. Candidates are nominated and then spend the spring raising much-needed funds for cancer research and patient services. The candidate who is able to raise the greatest amount is bestowed the title of Man or Woman of the Year.

This year, the local Minnesota chapter of LLS asked me if I would be their honorary chairperson of the campaign. I've been involved with them in the past, presenting the story of my cancer and The Daily Zoo at a Survivor's Night celebration last year, as well as donating signed books and prints to some of their other fundraisers. Needless to say, I was honored to be asked and as part of my involvement I created some artwork to be used as a secondary logo for the campaign. The LLS staff suggested a pair of animals adorned with the red sashes that are given to the winners. I decided hippos might be fun. (When are hippos NOT fun?) The final piece is shown above and below are some in-progress images showing the development which led to the end result.

If your local chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is having a Man & Woman of the Year campaign, please consider donating (or even participating as a candidate yourself!).

Everything started out with some quick thumbnails done with water soluble wax crayons. I liked the idea (and challenge) of doing the final piece in watercolor. By no means do I feel very confident with this medium, so I did a few small test "renders" of the hippos, experimenting with color, paint application, and detailing with different types of additional media (colored pencil, ink pen, etc.)

Then it was on the actual final artwork. I lightly sketched the hippos out with a Col-erase blue pencil before painting with watercolor. As you can see from the in-progress shot, the color palette was much different than what I ultimately ended up with. It just wasn't working for me, so when I scanned the painting into the computer I played around with color adjustments and settled on a drabber blue-gray color for the hippos which I felt worked better with the red sashes.

I also drew a separate line drawing of the two characters, scanned that in separately, and added it as a digital overlay. Why not just do this step on the final image and avoid the compositing work in Photoshop? Well, I wasn't exactly sure how it was going to look, and since I didn't have much time to do the piece, I didn't want to do something I would later regret. That's one of the benefits of having a digital component as part of your workflow. I could experiment more freely and not worry about having to start over completely. When overlaying the line drawing on the painting I was able to control its opacity and add it only where I felt it was needed.


Lesley Vamos said...

Your so right - hippos are always fun,... well unless they're tipping over your safari boat and eating you... ^_^ Love the image!!

Chris Ayers said...

Thanks, Lesley. Glad to know there's another hippo fan out there!