Paper illustration © Kevin Kidney
Earlier this year I was hired to create a promotional campaign for a holiday entertainment company using paper sculpture. I love Christmas and everything about the holidays so I was really excited about this project. Above is a scene that I put together for a poster. People often ask me to show more "behind the scenes" in making and photographing one of my illustrations, so this might be a good time to do it.
The first thing that I do, after talking things over with the client and doodling in my sketch book, is the layout:
A layout is simply my pencil drawings placed in a digital mock up, with a bit of shading and value. I try to figure everything out during this stage so I won't have problems to fix later. For this project, I experimented a bit with colors...
For me personally, choosing colors is the most difficult part of the whole thing.
Once I get the "go ahead" to continue, I start building my image. I had a very specific idea of how I wanted the "Holiday Village" typeface to look, with lots of whimsy and beveled edges:
Every part of the picture, including the lettering, is cut out of colored paper with an x-acto knife and assembled with strong tacky glue. I like to work very clean, so I keep a dampened dishcloth nearby to periodically wipe off my hands and fingers. Dirt, oil or glue will smudge the paper and ruin everything. Grungy is not my style, anyway.
Some of the paper bits are LITTLE and the slightest breeze will send them flying off my table like tiny leaves. I won't tell you how many times I had to search the floor for Santa's eyebrows.
Finally, it's all assembled like a miniature theatrical set, and carefully lit like one, too. It's very important the shadows fall where they're supposed to. This year I bought an excellent new camera that takes hi-def images, so conceivably, I could create artwork for a freeway billboard, if necessary!
I can fudge details in photoshop later (for print work) but I strive to keep that to a minimum. CG imagery is not as exciting to me, and part of the magic of making something look hand-made is to avoid over-polishing it in the computer afterwards.
And that's about all there is to it. Merry Christmas everybody!