Sketchbook to Screen: Mountain Meditation

graphic, Uncategorized

This illustration was created for the Aztec Press in my story on minimalism.
That link opens in a new tab because I’m not a sociopath.


First, I drew some mountains as a base. If you have a tablet, you can 100% skip this step. I am kind of broke old school and I can’t afford a tablet like to draw and scan. Open this in Photoshop. Obviously rotate it the right way, and hope for the best because you just got yourself into a big mess volunteering to do all of the illustration for your school newspaper even though you kind of suck at drawing.


Alright, we’re in Photoshop now. Select each mountain range. Fill with a gradient of colors, starting with the darkest in the foreground. I chose an Arizona sunset, so I picked a burnt sienna which fades into a tangerine, then a bright orange, to a goldenrod, and an apricot color for the furthest range. I am so good at naming colors. Suck it, Pantone!



Each selection should be its own layer. That way, you can apply  a gradient on each layer. The goal is to make the top of the mountain darkest and fade toward the bottom of each range, sort of like this photograph, which will open in a new tab because I’m not a jerk.



Things got a little extra and it turned into The Lion King around these parts. I increased that gradient intensity even more because I was worried it would not translate on newsprint that well. I changed the sky to this beautiful pink linear gradient and just threw a circle shape on their. I used glowing edges to make the circle sunny. I also made a radial gradient on the brown foreground because that is where our subject will be sitting her little booty.



Now, draw this lil Grudge gal and scan it and just stick it in there, okay? I don’t know why.




That’s why. Because I am so bad at drawing, I draw my foregrounds and my backgrounds separately, then I add my subject later. I hope to improve and draw everything at once in the future, or I hope someone buys me a tablet. So just color this meditating lady in and give her some shiny anime hair.




And here we are. I added some crinkly paper for some texture, which actually looked pretty bad in the newspaper, like my illustration was just a photo of some crumpled up illustration, but I think it looks cool here. And there we go. Girl meditating in Arizona/psychotically staring at the sun until she goes blind in a crop top.


Sketchbook to Screen

blog, graphic, Uncategorized

I wrote a piece for my school newspaper on a topic I get lost in often: nostalgia. It goes to press tomorrow. Until then, here’s the illustration for it.

I’ve never been a skilled artist. I like to doodle and make things, but at the beginning of the semester, none of the returning reporters wanted to fill the role as photo editor, so I volunteered to be co-photo editors with this cool gal I met in class.

There were no comics or willing artists on staff, so I volunteered to do some of the illustrations.

It’s been odd since people who volunteer to help with art are usually really good artists, so people expect that, or I just expect people to expect it, but it’s also been super fun!

I’m still new to it, but here’s the process behind the nostalgia illustration.


I knew I wanted the title in the drawing. Handwritten cursive seemed romantic and fitting for the topic. I began by writing the title in pen and going over with a Sharpie. I kept the doodles which I considered items of nostalgia (Autumnal leaves, Polaroids, a camping scene, a Christmas tree, Nickelodeon VHS tapes, etc.) in pen. Then, I scanned the three sheets and pulled them up in Photoshop.


I also made a new document, sized it, picked a background color, lassoed and pulled all the doodles over to it, and made those each have their own layer. I like to title layers by which drawing they are. I also made each layer “multiply,” so it would blend into the peachy pink background instead of having a rough white outline around it.

As you can see, I rearranged the text so each word was closer together. I used “threshold” to make it only black and white (see how bold and not sketchy it is compared to the doodles?) Then, I made a selection of each letter, refined the edge by going to “select” -> “refine edge” -> “smooth,” and made it all one solid color.

I almost like it better this way, but my editor-in-chief preferred it colored, and it is pretty fun that way.


I added a gradient and an outline around the text to make it stand out. My reluctant fingers only complied because it’s getting printed on newspaper. I thought it looked a lot cuter and simpler without the effects, but I’m learning what looks good on the web and what looks good on newsprint can be pretty different. Ink on newpaper can often bleed and not look as clean especially without a border.My favorite parts are the lil campfire, Doug and Cynthia, and the record with my byline on it.

Thanks for looking!