#24 ANOTHER POST ABOUT COMPOST

When I created a “Potting Soil” label for Supersoil with a cat in the window, I really appreciated the art director, Dave Sanchez’s input. One of the major changes he made was the direction of the floor tiles. Angling the perspective was very helpful for the illustration. There were a lot of possibilities, as evidenced by my numerous color sketches. Instead of doing a tight marker comp, another method I used was to photocopy a line sketch and make a lot of color studies. On this job, there were quite a few!

This illustration utilized a transparent, watercolor technique and was done entirely on marker paper mounted to illustration board. Marker paper is very delicate and easily disintegrates with any rubbing. However, it allows for light washes and quick drying of colors. The colors are very bright and clean with this technique.

I have not illustrated too many animals, and was a little apprehensive about illustrating a cat in a window. Dave sent me a few photos of his beloved, deceased cat to immortalize. A few years later, it turned out that the cat I immortalized in the window resembled one that our family adopted later on!

Below is a recent email exchange between Dave and I regarding my writing about Supersoil. I found Dave’s comments very interesting and informative.

DAVE'S CAT.

OUR CAT, ANGEL.

On Jun 24, 2010, Judy Unger wrote:

Hi Dave,

I finally got that post up about our first four Supersoil illustrations!

Please give me feedback if there’s anything you want me to add or take out. It sure was fun looking over all the files.

Take care, Judy

On Jun 24, 2010, Dave Sanchez wrote:

Judy,

Looks fine. I’m surprised that you kept ALL those layouts and sketches leading up to the final illustration brings back memories. The red wagon in the garden was intentional, and the client didn’t mind because red wagons are used all the time by people to carry plants, and soil, around their yards.  I also used our cat in the window of the home for the redesign of the Supersoil package. He added a little reality and warmth to the package, which I overheard a customer at Home Depot remark was “charming” and added personality to the brand. I remember you were concerned about rendering him, but he turned out PERFECT. He’s in Cat Heaven now, but he was immortalized in the package, for a while anyway, until Miracle-Grow redesigned the bag after they acquired Supersoil.

Dave

On Jun 24, 2010, Judy Unger wrote:

Hi Dave! I saved that whole story for the next post – trust me, I didn’t forget it at all. I loved illustrating your cat.

Here’s the most amazing coincidence. I have the same cat. Our cat is named Angel and she looks almost identical to yours. Isn’t that an amazing coincidence? Maybe that’s why it’s one of my favorite illustrations! It’s great to see your cat immortalized, I’m sure.

Judy

On Jun 24, 2010, Dave Sanchez wrote:

It is. I have the bag with my cat on the wall by the garden tools.  We were questioned by the Miracle-Grow when they took over the brand. They asked why we went to illustration vs. photography and why I had used a wagon, cat, etc.  The answer was simple: It added lifestyle, was “results” oriented, and was visually attractive. It was no wonder they wanted to buy the brand, since Supersoil was successful and owned the Western soil market, which they wanted. We also created ads, radio and TV. I developed the brand image and personality over 30 years.

Adding the cat to the Supersoil package, and a dog in the wagon on the Turf-Fit package, I feel, really was a major breakthrough in garden product packaging. I added the puppy in the wagon because the client wanted to say the product was SAFE for children and pets.

Adding the wagon was another subliminal business touch (the client was agreeable, and we got along great).

Dave

FIRST CONCEPT FOR THIS ILLUSTRATION

ART DIRECTOR’S LAYOUT

PHOTO REFERENCE


FINALIZED SKETCH BEFORE PAINTING. NOTE THAT THE FLOOR TILES ARE DIFFERENT.

MY PAINTING IN PROGRESS

When I illustrated the Cactus/Palm Mix for Supersoil, I gained a true appreciation for the enormous variety of palms in my neighborhood. I was able to easily identify many varieties, which previously I’d never noticed. I always thought of a palm tree as just the basic kind – instead, I learned about the small ones that are like “jewels” in a garden.

I’ve always loved succulents, too, because of the amazing variety of shapes and colors. I especially found it intriguing to illustrate the bird of paradise plant. The gradating brilliant flowers were simply a joy to illustrate.

This job concept changed a lot from where it first started. This was actually the job where I was informed that my initial photo-comps resembled a hostage note.

FIRST CONCEPT FOR THIS ILLUSTRATION

HERE'S THE PHOTO COMPS RESEMBLING A HOSTAGE NOTE!

NEW DIRECTION TO FOLLOW AFTER FIRST CONCEPTS.

PHOTO REFERENCE.

I COLORED IN A PHOTO-COPY TO GIVE A DIFFERENT LOOK FOR THE SKY COLOR. THE LIZARD WAS ADDED.

TIGHTER MARKER COMP - NOT CREATED BY COLORING IN A PHOTO-COPY

FINAL PAINTING FOR THE CACTUS-PALM MIX.

I painted this illustration in the same style as the “cat in the window” Potting Soil label. I used marker paper mounted on board, as well. However, I used a lot more acrylic for the palm fronds, grass, and cactus textures. The spines on the foreground cactus were created using white acrylic and star-like shapes for the spines.

Dave added a lizard before I began the final painting. Originally, I wasn’t too excited about it, but later on I enjoyed seeing that creature hiding in the shadows.

I followed the art direction in creating the architectural elements, however, when I look at this illustration, I am greatly bothered by the perspective. I feel like this path leads to a door going nowhere!

Illustrating Turf Fit had me very tired of illustrating blades of grass. I utilized acrylic for that, and glazed over it many times. The sod roll was something I was concerned about, and the seams where the “patches” of sod were installed, needed to be subtly visible.

I searched a lot for reference of the puppy, and actually purchased the wagon (and sheepishly, I admit I returned it later on!).

The illustration in the right-hand corner was done separately, and I had the challenge of creating soil, and moisture incorporated into the blades of grass.

ORIGINAL CONCEPT FOR THIS JOB. THE DOG BREED WAS CHANGED!

THE FIRST OF MANY CONCEPTS DRAWN BY DAVE FOR THIS JOB.

PHOTO REFERENCE

PRIOR TO MY FINAL SKETCH, NO COLOR COMPS WERE DONE FOR THIS JOB.

A close up of the illustration.

The last project I did for Supersoil was really different for me. I was asked if I could replicate a very loose style. In order for this project to be awarded to me, I had to prove this by creating several samples to share. My samples sold the client on using me. It is not completely unusual for me to illustrate something less photorealistic. I often am asked to duplicate another artist’s style. Since I am a “renderer,” I am usually able to follow whatever reference I am asked to copy. I plan to write more about that later on.

I used markers for this style, and I outlined the elements and allowed for washes of color to “go out of the lines.” Dave begged me to loosen up even more.

That wasn’t easy for me! This series of illustrations had a basket weave pattern on the bag, which I was also asked to illustrate.

I created photocopy-colored, marker comps, and on the final illustrations I separated the elements into groups so that there would be more flexibility in moving them around to fit the label.

This turned out to be one of those projects that never was printed. I’ve enjoyed the illustrations, although I rarely share them since they are so different.

ART DIRECTOR'S LAYOUT.

COLOR POSSIBILITIES.

TOMATO VEGETABLE MIX - FINAL ILLUSTRATION

COLOR POSSIBILITIES

AN IN PROGRESS LOOK - I SCRAPPED THIS ONE AND STARTED OVER.

FINAL ILLUSTRATION

FIRST CONCEPT FOR THE NATURALS LINE POTTING SOIL MIX.

REVISED CONCEPT SKETCH FOR NATURALS LINE POTTING SOIL MIX.

PHOTO REFERENCE DAVE SHARED WITH ME.

FINAL ILLUSTRATION. I KNOW DAVE ASKED ME, "WHY WASN'T THIS ONE AS LOOSE AS THE OTHER ONES?" GOOD QUESTION!

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About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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