Illustration: Scorpio & Leo.
Exploring an all-digital, mixed media illustration through brushes and photography.
Most of my illustration work begins with pen or pencil and a sheet of paper (sketchbook, copy, Filed Notes, a receipt--whatever is nearby). The fluidity of drawing something by hand is unmatched by any mouse or tablet for me. A couple of years ago I was experimenting on a personal project using some brushes from Kyle T. Webster prior to him landing his gig with Adobe. I was fascinated with how [visually] these brushes mimic pencil and pen strokes. Several years ago I replaced my mouse with a Wacom tablet and these brushes took the experience over the top that I decided to attempt some all-digital pieces. I worked on an illustration in pencil first with a photo for reference and I wasn't too stoked on my proportions so I imported the photo into Photoshop and traced the image using these brushes for better accuracy, adding my own flare for line and shapes to give the image some character rather than a straight trace.

Eventually I iced this style after drawing with this approach a handful of times. Currently, my setup where I am staying is a bit limiting and doesn't allow for much space to draw by hand in the manner that I am used to where I have a lot more room to spread my creative muscles and work on larger pages. So in these moments, we adapt. I found this great image of my close friend Lennie and knew at some point I wanted to make an illustration of it, mostly because I found the position of her hands in this image to be quite striking. I went through the digital drawing process again and really explored how I can integrate photography within my illustration and colors. This led me to trying an array of layouts and backgrounds, all while rekindling myself with Kyle's brushes.

As most of my digital color jobs are created, I began with the line art and then laid down a base of colors on separate layers underneath. Once I had a proper color scheme, I added the shadows and highlights with soft gradients of each to give the figures some depth. I used an image of the Milky Way for the background that I shot a few years ago in the bay are of California. During this process I knocked out some of the line art in her hair and body to allow the stars to show through, further driving home the idea of her being a starseed. I overlayed a halftoned image of the Scorpius constellation that I shot earlier this summer on a solo trip to South Llano River State Park in Texas as she is a Scorpio herself. Through manipulation of gradients, Blending Modes, and other techniques I brought the illustration to a close. I am super pleased with this new style of creating and I am looking forward to producing more work in this fashion.

Lennie Hsiao is a film maker and starchild, her animated videos and readings can be found on her YouTube page.
For all of your illustration and creative needs, please contact me directly at:
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