Common Ground


This illustration was created for the 2017 NOIS Show (Northern Ohio Illustrators Society) at Canopy Collective in Ohio City. The theme was Common Ground, which can mean different things to different people. It’s all subject to interpretation.

My thinking was that all people on earth, and all the wildlife the earth supports, all need certain things to survive. We all have a common ground. We need food, water, light to see and to grow our food, air for breathing, and abode or habitat for shelter. This whimsical symbolic representation serves to make these requirements clear.

A (very) rough sketch was made of the concept. The sketch was scanned to serve as a spatial guide, and imported into Illustrator where a vector drawing was created using the Pen tool. The animals were drawn separately, scanned, and vector drawings were made, using fitted shapes that would facilitate masks later on. Base color was added before arranging everything in one Illustrator document.

The vectors were imported into Photoshop, along with all the drawing pieces parts, to create the textures and details. The process is similar to painting. The life icons and other small pieces were drawn from scratch in Illustrator and then rendered the rest of the way in Photoshop where finishing touches were needed. Some gradient meshes were used in Illustrator also. Sometimes gradient mesh provides a cleaner, tighter look.

The finished size in Photoshop was 16x20 at 350ppi, so a low resolution image on a web page doesn’t show all the detail. Some detail enlargements have been provided to show the enhanced detail and rendering techniques.

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