For the past couple days I have been spending hours at my desk painting and listening to too many podcasts.
I am trying to come up with a few cool things for an upcoming art show and I went to the local Saguaro National Park and hiked around and took a mizillion (made that word up to convey the extreme quantity of photos I took) reference/inspirational photos!
Saguaros (and cacti in general) are often portrayed cartoon-y (hey, I draw them that way too!) but I wanted to try to get all the weird gritty, awkward stages of cacti growth too! If you go back in my archives, you can see I made a saguaro pattern in December 2015 (cartoon-y as HECK) and way back in June 2014 but I wanted to make a fresh interpretation since I'm no longer the same person I was back when I made those! Run on sentence.
Anyways, I had a lot of fun and filled at least 19 pages of my 2 sketchbooks up with watercolor and gouache paintings of cacti. Here are a couple untouched scans!
My main focus this time was to represent the saguaros with a ton of arms (meaning they are older cacti) and also get them to look more proportional and tall! After I painted my heart out and accumulated enough "okay" cacti, I moved onto scanning them, which is a whole production in itself.
After I scanned them in at super high resolutions, I brought all the pages into my trusty photoshop and started to edit the backgrounds (the sketchbook paper) out so the cactus stood alone. Above is the SUPER messy file of a million layers of cacti that I drug (is that a word?) into one single file. The reason I do this is so I can proportion the drawings and shrink them to be all the same relative size. Since I was using two sketchbooks (when one was still wet, I could still continue to paint in the other and via versa) the paintings were not all the same size. Saguaros are obviously bigger than golden barrel cacti so I had to make them that way!
Above are some of what I painted presented in a more organized fashion. This helps me so when I am making the patterns, I could see which ones I wanted to use that fit the color scheme/space/etc.
Long post! Hope you stayed with me. I finished up the patterns yesterday and started to order a couple products I'll be selling and (hopefully!) showcasing soon! You'll get the first sneak peek here!