I was recently invited to create a poster for the Penfield Children's Center Annual Croquet Ball, which took place this past weekend. Penfield Children's Center, in Milwaukee, provides early education, health services, and family programming to infants and children in need.
Creating this poster was a rewarding opportunity for two reasons: First, it's always been important that I give back to communities in need, using my work to perpetuate compassion, education, and understanding. Second, donating illustration generally means absolute freedom.
This freedom, of course, means the direction is wide open, and it's therefore my responsibility to understand what I truly want to make. Quite a daunting task. If you've ever stared blankly at an empty piece of paper, you understand. I'm trying to know my creativity better, narrowing in on cues - indulgence vs work, my strengths vs strengths perceived by others, etc. Lately I'm discovering that I love to mix worlds. So, I combined my love of combining with something else I adore: FOOD!
I've long had an obsession with drawing chefs. Possibly because in another life, I'd like to be one, but I've always loved drawing food and people working with it. I'd spend hours as a child drawing fruit and vegetables on MS Paint, and I sculpted chef after chef in clay. One look at my portfolio won't tell you this, but I never actually execute these drawings in a way that makes sense for my professional portfolio. Being an idiot is the only explanation I can offer for this.
For the concept of the poster, mixing in chefs was easy - they'd simply play croquet! I decided to have them use food for the croquet balls, bent utensils for the ground thingies and kitchen tools for the mallets. I pulled some work for color and visual inspiration and after approval from the client, I went to work.
The poster was quite large (26x40") and in order to transfer the drawing onto my paper, I had to redraw the illustration on a large piece of tracing paper (that I taped together). I then put pink chalk on the backside of the tracing paper and transferred the lines onto the paper. (I forgot to take images!) I then created the final in pan pastel, gouache, colored pencil and water soluble crayon. I limited my palette to olive greens, ochre, salmon, and some rusty coral colors and worked on a fawn colored 22x30" sheet of Arches paper.
To create the poster, I had the illustration professionally scanned (because of the large size) and then I photoshopped more room on the top and bottom for the text. I created most of the text by hand, scanned it in and edited everything in PS. And the poster was complete! Here are some closeup images of the illustration finished.
And the finished poster (which the client printed) It's almost as big as me!!
Thanks again to the folks at Cramer-Krasselt for bringing me onto this project to Penfield Children's Center for providing invaluable services to your community. What an all around win!