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Layers and layers: Mimulus & Bombus

I was delighted to be invited to do the poster art for the 2011 Wildflower Festival at Mount Pisgah Arboretum. It's exciting to see the posters going up all around town in preparation for the big event on Sunday, May 15!

I drew this large poster composition directly in Photoshop. There are a few advantages to this approach. You don't have to worry about scanning in a very large original on paper, to start with--the full-size file is already in the computer, ready to send to the printers. As you work, you can also turn layers on & off, or play with the transparency, so you can look back at your original drawings and compare how the final work is turning out in relation to that. (I did a lot of the rough drawings on paper this time, when it came to refining the pose of the bee and the flowers, then scanned those in and got them into scale with each other as the basis for the final computerized art.)  Finally, when when each element is on its own layer in the computer, you can re-arrange the relationships of the critters to fit new formats. For example, the re-arranged version below makes a banner on the Arboretum's website as we get closer to the big day of the event:

An amusing side effect of this work process is that viewing the layers of the original Photoshop file provides fun clues as to how I thought my way through the drawing process. Here's a slideshow of how those layers all interact to make the final product.

(I've done similar slideshows for my past festival posters too: 2010 Wildflower Festival, and 2010 Mushroom Festival).