Illustrating from sketch to final piece > holiday stamps

Whenever I get the request to illustrate something travel related, like maps – oh, how I love illustrated maps – I do a little happy dance (okay, in my head. But still…). The article I illustrated for this time was about travel insurance. Things going wrong was the first thing that came to mind. Thinking of my own – thankfully quite small – share of holiday dramas (a plane booking gone wrong, the inevitable Delhi Belly, a crushed suitcase, lost sunglasses), I wanted to find a way to incorporate all kinds of scenes into one image. You know I love to send and receive postcards… so one plus one turned out to be a whole bunch of stamps.

I have had this set of illustrated bird stamps on my desktop for ages and now I could finally use that inspiration. A set of stamps was the perfect way to show a range of things as one image and combined with a not so traditional ‘greetings from’ postcard it would illustrate this article very well. There was a hideous quick brainstorm sketching session before I made these sketches to show the client.

The sketches I sent the client – except for the Bisou de France, that one was sent as option 2 / sketches by Annemarie Gorissen

The client loved the idea, but found the postcard on the left a bit too much like drowning. My idea was that somebody was pulled out of the postcard and not so much out of the water. But if it’s not clear, it’s not the right image. (I am glad I never showed them the sinking cruise ship in one of my brainstorm sketches…) So I made a second proposal for the postcard – the one on the right. A big kiss from France, coming home real soon… In the final postcard I changed Bisou to Bisous and left out the traffic cone (and the banner) for readability.

Refining the Procreate sketches in Photoshop (on my iPad) / illustration by Annemarie Gorissen

It was time to refine the sketches I made in Procreate. I switch to Photoshop at this stage to have all the advantages of the real thing. (I am using Astropad to turn my iPad into a second screen. That allows me to work directly in Photoshop on my computer, while still drawing on my iPad with the Apple Pencil.). After getting all the lines where I want them to be, it’s time to hide them. I use these lines only as a guide for building my illustrations in color.

The collection of stamps in color, with just a few lines to add details / illustration by Annemarie Gorissen

As you can see I chose a strict color scheme and did not budge at all. That way it all comes together as one piece and feels really clean and balanced. I love how these colors turned out. I usually pick the colors in advance to keep me from adding more and more. This time I picked 5 (adding grey, black and white), put them all next to each other and adjusted them until it looked just right. It’s actually quite difficult to stick only to the colors you picked, but you’ll be rewarded in the end with a balanced piece. 

As always so happy when I see the printed copy. I was extra happy with this one, it turned out great! / photo and illustration by Annemarie Gorissen
I was really happy to see the printed copy, it turned out beautifully / photo and illustration by Annemarie Gorissen
And finally: the postcard. It opened the article to tell the whole story about insurance and travel issues / photo and illustration by Annemarie Gorissen
And finally: the postcard. It opened the article to tell the whole story about insurance and travel issues / photo and illustration by Annemarie Gorissen

I really loved how these stamps turned out and I felt really comfortable with this way of illustrating: straight lines, clear and colorful with a subtle texture in all of it. I may be coming closer to finding my own style… 

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