There are projects that come along that are just a sheer pleasure to work on, And this one surely qualifies. Celestial Seasonings has been a fantastic company to work with. Really a dream come true for me. Last summer they asked me to work with three other illustrators to develop imagery for a new line of tea. One of the parameters of the design was to hire multiple like-minded illustrators and follow a similar narrative throughout the line, and lucky me was asked to do two of the five flavors. This was one of them. I thought it might be interesting to all of you to see some of the process involved in creating such an image.
After doing some research into the kind of geography that is located in this region of China, I then sat in my thinking chair and imagine an idealized tea plantation, in a grant wood would sort of way. This was my first rough sketch of this place.
This is where the project started to get fun, doing my final pencil work. The foreground was going to contain hundreds of jasmine flowers so I thought I would handle this digitally by drawing an image library of flowers and plants and leaves in different angles and sizes, also the client requested there be some flexibility in adjusting the way the image was cropped. So creating the foreground hillside as a separate layer would be a good idea anyway.
After drawing a good amount of the flowers for the foreground, I then made image libraries of the different segments and simply sprayed the rest in with the image hose in Painter.
This is the final pencil drawing with the foreground put in as a layer and with the flowers on their own separate layers as well. I wanted the flowers to carpet the foreground hills but I did not want them to look tilled at all so I sprayed them with as much randomness as I could.
After getting approval from the client for the direction they also needed a color rough of the painting to show at a shareholders meeting. And it also helped me figure out my lighting and overall color direction. You may also notice that my left-side waterfall was somewhat modified in my final pencil, I think it was just a little bit too much for my client, however, I liked it.
Here is a detail of the final painting. I chose to handle the flowers by painting the color by hand, digitally I mean. I thought of handling flowers as a nozzle in full-color but I felt by painting each one separately over the pencil work I would create a much more harmonious and finished look that would blend in with the rest of the painting.