Process: Autumn

Autumn! It's the season of pumpkins, lattes, candles, and costumes. Where I live, the leaves are already starting to fall. I finished up this piece to celebrate.

This illustration is special because it's a redo of something I've done in the past. At the risk of being very embarrassed, I'm going to show you two previous versions of this painting, when I was still learning how to navigate Photoshop back in the good old days of yore. 

I place these ugly ducklings at 2012 and 2014:

Lockamy_Old Autumns_2012 and 2014.jpg

In the first version, I was just playing around with Photoshop as a painting tool. I had gotten my hands on the program in high school and experimented with it a lot, before going on to use it more effectively in college. The second version showed some improvement, but there still wasn't much structure to the forms. And I was still using that darn leaf brush!

OK. Ready for the new version?

Lockamy_Autumn Redo_1

The winning thumbnail, AKA the messiest step. The colors had already been established for this piece, so keeping a red undertone helped it along. I also love starting with a good texture. It enhances the feeling that I'm drawing on paper instead of a tablet.

Lockamy_Autumn Redo_2

Drawing right over the thumbnail, and pushing line weight to show that the leaves are at different points in space. (Also, I want this coat.)

Lockamy_Autumn Redo_3

Building up black and white values and establishing depth. I was happy with where it was going at this stage, and I think the piece would look just as nice in black and white – but autumn is all about the beautiful leaves!

Lockamy_Autumn Redo_4.jpg

Adding colors that were used in the previous versions of the piece, while being reserved about the reds. I've learned that red can get out of control pretty fast, so it will be layered on gradually over the somber palette.

Lockamy_Autumn Redo_5

At this point, I continued working on the piece in Procreate on my iPad. It's been a game-changer for me, because now I can take my digital work with me anywhere. And if I want to pop into a cafe to sip some pumpkin spice goodness while I work, that makes the process even more fun.

Autumn Redo_6.jpg

Lastly, I took it back into Photoshop for some final tweaks. And there you have it! Here's a process GIF of each step:


Pssst... Autumn is available for sale on my Society6 shop.  It looks nice on a coffee mug with your pumpkin spice latte, hint hint.

Thanks for reading. Happy autumn!