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STLP Graphic Design Process

By:  Megan C.

{Greenwood High School}

  1. Form an idea: I felt passionate about mountains and recycling so I really wanted to do a piece that would show this. One of my favorite animals are the Red Foxes so I figured they would be a good subject to direct the project towards.
  2. Figure out design: I spent quite a while trying out my ideas with pencil and paper first before coming up with a design I felt was strong enough to clearly illustrate my goal. I knew I wanted earth tones in the background for atmospheric reasons and greens and blues to color the fox for contrast and to illustrate the mountainous terrain. I really liked the look of adding white behind the original focus point to add even more emphasis.
  3. Create a file: File>New Leave everything the default except I change the canvas size to 9 inches by 9 inches to satisfy the rubric (and because squares are visually appealing).
  4. Import concept sketch into a Photoshop layer: Because my scanner at home wasn’t working I had to improvise. I laid out my sketchbook and took a photo of my fox sketch being careful to avoid distorting the image. I then emailed the picture to myself and added that photo as a layer in my Photoshop file. I set it as layer 1 and turned the opacity to about 65%. Then I made another layer on top of that one where I'd do the tracing and fixing mistakes.
  5. Creation of the fox as the focal point: This was a multi step process where after I outlined the fox in black I had to go back in and do multiple layers under that one for every color in  the mountain scene. I used different images on from google images to get mountains looking right and also the trees. I filled the sky color in first under the outline. I added a layer on top of the base color for the trees (a darker shade of green). Finally, I added the dark blue mountain shape under the base tree layer. I knew I'd go back and add tree details later, but I wanted everything to look simplistic, nature is simple.

{everything drawn with a Wacom Create Tablet with pressure sensitivity.}
               Outline done with the solid round brush (under 'Brush' options shape dynamics
               and smoothing are checked. This is the same brush I used for the entirety
               of the project, with variations on the width.

  1. Background color: I knew before hand that the background needed to be a earth tone color to get the theme of nature and recycling across. I messed around a lot with trial and error to find the appropriate shade of tan that would work well with the greens and blues in the fox and would also emphasis that element. After finding the appropriate color I made a layer under the entire thing (but wasn’t technically the 'Background layer', that one I left white). I took my eraser and made a white outline around the fox, a technique I had scene other artists do with sketches on tan backgrounds and I thought it was visually appealing, a very effective technique.
  2. Heading: the decision to write out the heading versus choosing an appropriate font was hard. I looked all over the internet for publicly available fonts that could be used for commercial purposes and couldn’t find any that I felt would enhance the piece. I dabble in typography in my spare time so I decided to do it myself. I decided just to make the heading "RED FOXES" because that was the focal point of the entire design - recycling to save them and the mountains (aka where lots of red foxes live if they don’t reside in urban areas). I went with black to keep my color palette small and also because I knew it would have impact and contrast with the lighter background. After getting the letters right, I went back into my tan layer and used my eraser to and white accents to the heading, this was for effect and to tie it in with the fox. everything needed to look like a part of the same product.
  3. Details: At this point I had an image of a fox and a title, knowing there needed to be something to set my design apart from the others I decided to go about this with my details. Since my red fox wasn’t actually red I made sure to at least get the fur pattern right, it needed to be recognizable as a red fox. Keeping with my same color palette I added these details in a new layer that was still under the outline but above the interior designs. Then I zoomed in on my fox using View>Zoom in. Made my brush small and chose the same color that I had used for the feet detail to add shadows to the trees. I used multiple pictures from google as reference for technique (one similar to cross hatching). I then took my brush and changed the color to that of a slightly darker shade than the tan and added trees above the fox. It was enough to be subtle yet apparent.
  4. Subtitle: As my final step (and most important) I needed to connect my ideas and mountain fox into one single coherent idea. Recycling and saving our mountains (and environment) for the benefit of foxes (although we should be doing it because it’s the right thing to do). I stayed in the same layer as my details and even used the same color as the dark tan trees for this addition. I wrote out "PROTECT OUR MOUNTAINS FOR THEM." This was my ethos stance on recycling and environmental awareness.
  5. Saving the Product: File>Save as>graphic design - STLP (as a JPEG)

    11.  Drink tea // finished.