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  Christmas Animation  

The reason I used an animated GIF for my holiday card this year is because I thought it might be interesting for people to see my creative process. For this particular artwork, I spent weeks trying to come up with an original idea and found nothing but frustration. I tossed out one idea after another and nothing ever got recorded onto paper. I was stumped and the holidays were coming fast.

Finally, while looking through old artwork, I came upon an illustration I did for my 1998 holiday card that had a Christmas ball in it. I've been tossing around doing something with an eye and the roundness of the Christmas ball gave me the idea to turn the iris of an eye into an ornament. I can now look for reference. Although I do not draw realistically, an artist is very limited without reference of what things actually look like. This is why an artist uses models.

I searched the internet for eyes and Christmas balls. Settling on an eye with long lashes and a plain Christmas ball. I sketched the whole eye out with an HB pencil and added the ornament features last. I like artwork to look like art. This is why I always let the pencil drawing show through in my finishes. I applied watercolor on top of that drawing keeping in mind that I was going to scan it later. I first did that process during last years' card. The first animated state is what I scanned.

After scanning, I brought the illustration into Photoshop and used airbrush color to do the finished art. I used the eyedropper in Photoshop to pick up the original colors from the watercolor drawing. At this point I am no longer looking at the reference and stylizing it using my imagination. Notice, I even modified my signature to make it look better. The second animated state shows this finished.

The final state is the New Year's date (also in Photoshop). I made it transparent so the eye art would show through it. It was here that I came up with the idea to do an animated GIF and easily made that in Photoshop.

I hope you enjoy it and have a very Happy New Year!


December 2009
"Visions of Holiday Cheer"
Pencil and watercolor on Strathmore Watercolor Cold Press paper with Photoshop retouching
Artwork by Arthur George
© A Drop Dead Production
Visit my professional site at ArthurGeorge.com