Digital Backgrounds are a new addition to the Ink Letter Love family and I am so thankful to everyone who has shown them SO much love! I literally cry every time one of you sends me a screenshot of my artwork on your phone, so keep them coming!
I personally love seeing the process of how something comes to life (anyone else addicted to the show "How It's Made?! It is my jam!) and thought I would share how the digital downloads go from inspiration to sketch to painting to digital to a finished version ready for you!
So obviously everything starts with inspiration, and for this it was two-fold. First, I was inspired by my incredibly talented fellow letterer, Rosalynne of Rosalynne Love. She creates digital backgrounds for her followers with quotes and photos and they are so lovely - I knew that eventually I wanted to put my own spin on this idea, and she was an amazing example of how to do it well. I love the idea of making something special for the people who support you, and everyone loves something pretty or fun for their phone or laptop! So big giant thank you to Rosalynne for the brilliant idea - you should totally go show her some love, because she is amazing!
The second piece of the inspiration came from this photo taken by Rachel of Rockstar Catering. I created these tags (favorites ever, btw) for an event with Rockstar and Rachel captured them perfectly in this image. It might be one of my favorite pictures of my work, maybe ever. I love how fresh it feels, and I kept coming back to the picture again and again. And, since making these digital backgrounds is a fresh new project for me, lemons just felt right.
So, I started sketching.
I hadn't yet decided how I was going to bring this all to life just yet - I just knew that I wanted it to be really graphic and really bright. As it is with most projects, the more you work, the clearer the path to the end becomes - it took me a long time to embrace this "I don't know where this is going yet" mindset and not freak out - but I think my years of writing (as in writing stories, not lettering) helped me get over the discomfort of not knowing where the road ends.
I have been playing with my acrylic paints to create photo backdrops for products as I try to do a little refresh in the etsy shop before the holiday season, and I started painting loose shapes that would represent an item but with little to no detail. I created the basic shape and then wanted to see if I could sketch the details over the painting in black marker. Surprisingly, it worked!
I decided that I would try and create the digital backgrounds in the same way. At this point, it was still in the air - it could look good in real life and then totally not translate into digital.
I started painting. This is actually my 2nd attempt, because I didn't love the colors I used for the first attempt and the lemons were looking a bit more like oranges. So I adjusted the colors and got started on the rough shapes.
Once I was satisfied with the variety of sizes and shapes, I let it dry overnight. I went over the shapes in a fine tip black sharpie once the paint was dry. I knew I wanted these to be imperfect and more sketch-like so I didn't do a test run and just dove into the work. It took a little time and I had to go over the black lines a second time so that they really popped. At this point, it was just the yellow lemons and no green leaves. It wasn't exactly what I had hoped for and I knew I would need to incorporate a secondary color - so green leaves came next!
When everything was dry, I photographed it all and started to work on making the artwork digital. I uploaded the photos to my laptop and got them into Photoshop (PS) to clean up - I adjusted the image's brightness, levels, contrast, vibrancy, and saturation. I cropped each lemon out separately and put them onto a new canvas in PS so they could each have their own layer and I could move them as I pleased. After about 3 hours of work - color correcting, layer shifting, size changing, etc. - I had my final lemon layout.
I wanted to add the month and a calendar to the layout as options (since I don't know yet which one you'll love the most!) so I used the iPad Pro/Procreate App to write out "July" and set up the calendar.
Now I just had to put the month and calendar pieces into the layout in PS and add my watermark to each version. Once that piece was done - I had 3 versions of my background and saved each one with the correct resolution for each device.
Since this was my first go-around in the whole process - it took way longer than it will in the future (hopefully haha!) and I think I learned a lot along the way. I am super happy with how it all turned out, and I love that you guys are excited about them!
And, if you have any suggestions or special requests for next month's backgrounds, I would love to hear all about them!