Decorative Art Cards-1

Launching a Kickstarter campaign encompasses many parts, some of them moving. While my KS is to fund my book, the reality is I need to prepare some side dishes for the main course. I am adding bookmarks and art cards (mini-posters) that will be printed and have foil and letterpress details. More on the overall plan and how these fit into everything will come in a future post.

The attached PDF has all of the illustrative steps to this article. I am getting smarter at this and combining the support images into one PDF so that you only have to download one document. I have also added the steps listed below to the actual material. Wow, huh?

Step 1: The first thing I did was sketch out my ideas. I am working on a 1st generation Surface Studio, and for quick sketches I prefer Sketchable. It is a Windows 10 app. The cards are going to enhance the narrative of the story by revealing hidden details and undisclosed plot points. Every part of the artwork on these cards must accomplish that. I also would like them to have an illuminated text feel to them, but with my spin on it.

Step2: I exported the final roughs for the first stage of production. Create the graphic glyphs and ornate elements that adorn the borders and corners of each art card. These cards will be drawn digitally in ClipStudio Paint, but I want to save some effort and time by creating a template that I can draw over. So, I placed the exported roughs from Sketchable into Adobe Illustrator. I’m not going into the weeds on the tools and options for this or any other software I reference. Tons of video tutorials readily available online will be more thorough. I am sharing the process of how I am creating the artwork in my project. This programs strong suit is manipulative vector curves and setting type. I researched Esty for the most popular art card sizes. I had initially been thinking 6 x 9in; however, the research painted a different picture. There was probably ten times the amount of 5 x 7in cards on the site. Also, 5 x 7in picture frames, pre-cut matte boards are commonplace. I placed the rough on its layer and scaled it to the approximate size that felt right. Remember I have an illustration going in the middle space. The beautiful thing about vector artwork is that size is irrelevant. It is infinitely scalable.

Step 3: On a separate layer, I created some circles that mirrored the negative spaces of the intertwining dragon tentacles.

Step 4: I added a line segment that runs on a 45-degree angle; this will serve as my center point, my equator for the design.

Step 5: I used the pen tool to free form the base for my vector tentacles.

Step 6: Continuing the task at hand by roughing in the shapes. I can go back and add more points and adjust pretty much everything.

Step 7: After a bit of editing the points and adjusting the curves, I arrive at something that feels right. Note that I always start with a rough sketch at least. I believe that previsualization is essential, and the only way to do that is to sketch it out. But, you should feel free to deviate from your original idea as you go.

Step 8: I change the shape of the vector line to have a taper at the start and end of the line segment. Using a little known keyboard command (Shift-W) turns your select cursor into a line segment shaping tool. Using this, I apply a fat end to the line segment where it will curve into its mirror twin.

Step 9: I use the tool option in step 8 until I am content with the lines outlook.

Step 10: I use the mirror tool to duplicate the line segment along my equator line and start the task of creating the other line segments.

Step 11:  I apply the same process as 6 through 9.

Step 12: Again, I use my unique tool option to fatten one end of the segment. The end that will join it’s mirror twin.

Step13: I mirror the new segment and like the balance overall. I am not worried about the small point where the red tentacles join on my equator line. These lines are serving as templates for me to draw the final artwork over.

Step 14: Now, I start to create a more structured part of the design. These elements need to define the corners of the piece visually. So, I give them an architectural type feel. Not unlike the illustrative artwork from the Saturday Evening Post illustrations from the Twenties by J.C. Leyendecker.

Step 15: I cut the pure shapes with the scissor tool and keep the sections I want. I find that working with pure shapes, circles, ellipses, rectangles, etc., helps provide balance for the viewer’s eyes.

Step 16: Using my trusty mirror tool and center guides I set up within my document earlier on, I duplicate the elements to all four corners of the piece, deleting the tentacle parts from the top corners. Something special is going there.

Step 17: I hid the placed rough to show you the progress at this point in the project. Still much more to do, so stay tuned!!

I hope this was a blessing to you and inspired you in some way to pursue the creative dreams that are inside, waiting to come out.

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