Willamette Valley based wineries Scott Paul Winery, Willamette Valley Vineyards, and Flaneur teamed up to throw a harvest festival inspired by Mexican fiestas, and a giant piñata. They came me to create a poster image that would be adapted to several sizes, fabric banners, online components, print ads, and tee shirts.

When they contacted me they already had a concept in their minds (which of course is alway welcome). But after doing some sketching I realized that the concept lacked a visual impact that would tell the whole story (the story of smashing a giant piñata shaped like a cluster of grapes). I suggested a new visual and they immediately agreed that it was going to communicate the story much better. From this point, I made some new sketches until I found a composition that was going to be visually impactful, as well as work in a variety of size formats.

Continue to scroll down to see the creative process, from sketch to final!



This client came to me with a very specific idea of what they'd like to see mocked up. In this case, the client had envisioned the illustration being of a hand with a baton, striking a big bunch of grapes. But once I started exploring this idea through sketches, it became apparent that this concept just wasn't going to be very interesting visually. We needed a concept that had more of a narrative to draw from. Each of these sketches is only a few inches tall.



In my first pass at this illustration I came up with a cartoonish character poised next to the giant cluster of grapes. But the client was looking for something more aspirational. In response to their feedback, I went with a more serious and semi-realistic illustration style. The client loved it!

The illustration is first drawn in pencil a few times to experiment with details and composition. Then I cut and tape different pieces together to create a composite image from the various sketches. I then trace over this composite image, using a fresh piece of tracing paper, to create a refined drawing.



Once I have my refined drawing, I then trace over it (yet again) on tracing paper, using brush pens and fine tip drafting pens. This stage is really fun because all the exploration work is finally coming together!



Inked, dried, and scanned, the image is then taken into Photoshop where I clean up mistakes. From this point, depending on how the artwork is to be used, I can take the drawing into Adobe Illustrator and auto-trace to create a 'vector' version. I do this when the image needs to be replicated at larger sizes, or if I need to do major edits. But I only do this if i have to, since auto-trace is never as perfect as the real drawing.



Creating an illustration is a lot of work. Most of the time it is an incredibly laborious journey that requires lots of research, planning, and repeated attempts. There are almost always moments of doubt, and even panic, before a path becomes clear, and as deadlines loom. The client needs to LOVE the final product too. No pressure!


I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my process. Follow my social media feeds (links below) for semi frequent updates, and work-in-process reveals. I never post pictures of cats, babies, food, or personal stuff. I promise!