My 2016 Christmas Card Design

Even though past few months have been all about my kitchen renovation, I did managed to complete my illustration for this year's Christmas card.  As with my last few cards, this one was completely digital.

Well, "completely digital" isn't entirely true.  Like most of my illustrations, I do start out with pencil sketches.  For this card design I decided on a reindeer.  My initial idea was a reindeer with long antlers filled with ornaments.


My process scan my sketch and bring it into Adobe Illustrator, where I trace it and make any revisions, as I go.  I usually start out with flat shapes, with the correct colors and build the illustration from there.  The design of my deer stayed mostly the same, but I decided to do away with the long antlers and ornaments and put him in a winer nighttime setting instead.  I also changed is pose slightly and gave him a smaller, rounder nose.


Once the initial layout and color was in place I outlined the deer in black. I didn't want the deer to compete with the background, so I did not outline anything else in the scene.


My final step was to bring the illustration into Photoshop.   Once in Photoshop, I use a number of different brushes to give my illustration softer, more painterly look.  Most of the Photoshop brushes I use are by Kyle T. Webster, which are great and have the most natural look to any I've used before.  For this particular illustration I mostly used the gouache and crosshatch brushes.  Here is the final version of my illustration.