25 January 2018

Christmas Kenshi

Ink and marker on marker paper, with Photoshop, approximately 7x8", completed December 2017

In the midst of creating over a dozen ACEO cats for Christmas gifts in December 2017, I also wanted to get back into designing my own Christmas cards. I had been far too busy in 2016, which meant I skipped Christmas cards entirely that year (I didn't make my own cards in 2015 either, though at least I sent some premade ones). I didn't want that to become the norm--I love making and sending my own cards every year--so despite the heavy workload I already set myself, I took a break in the middle and spent a couple days drawing this. It's a picture of my dog, Kenshi, who passed on in February 2017. He was with me almost my entire adult life, save for the first year I moved out on my own (he stayed behind at my dad's house until I could find a place that allowed pets), so I decided to celebrate his memory with a peaceful depiction of him taking a nap 💙 I didn't want to be too sappy or bring down the mood around Christmastime, so that's why this is just a simple portrait. I wanted no one to know it had sad connotations unless they already knew Kenshi. Christmas is about joy and I want my memories of Kenshi to be the same.

Inked lines.

I was actually really surprised at myself when I began drawing this.  I used a photo of Kenshi napping on the couch as a reference and it was unusually easy for me to draw.  I had the pencil sketch and ink lines done in one single hour.  Maybe it's because I was so warmed up from drawing half a dozen kitties in the past couple weeks.  Whatever the reason, it felt good to get everything "right" without difficulty.

At the art meeting.
Final physical media.

On the second day, I started by coloring the piece with markers.  I used stencils to get a fun background without taking too much time (remember, this was meant to be made into Christmas cards and it was already mid-December, so I had to get it done quick!).  I had an art meeting with my sister that day, so I took the piece with me to get her opinion on it and she agreed with my thought that the background stood out too much and took attention away from Kenshi.  She helped me realize that I could use Photoshop to adjust that without risking the original drawing.

Adjustments and additions in Photoshop.

I toned down the background colors just enough to keep Kenshi the main focus of the piece and also used Photoshop to add some white highlights here and there.  As always, the white really made the image come to life.

Happy Kenshidays!
Finally, I used Photoshop to add text and crop the drawing to fit within the dimensions of a card.  I decided to write "Happy Kenshidays" to pull the whole thing together, thematically :3 I printed 30 cards on my professional inkjet printer and had them all filled out and mailed within the week.  Hopefully everyone who received one had their day brightened~!

You can purchase this piece here in a variety of formats, including greeting cards!