REI 4th of July

To kick off the summer of 2016, I had the great fortune of working with REI on a series of illustrations, starting with this piece for their 4th of July Clearance Sale. As a Colorado native and obvious fan of the outdoors, I was thrilled to partner with REI on a really fun project like this.  Read on to find out how this piece came together!
For the past few months, I've been using an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil to do my sketches. I've thoroughly enjoyed the tool and found it to be the easiest transition from paper to digital sketching I've ever used. In the next few projects, I'll try and grab a few videos of the sketching process in Procreate. For now, however, static .jpgs will have to do.
The brief I received was simple and exciting: Show a forest camping scene with a lake, mountains, and tent. These kind of briefs make me drool because they're tight enough to give me direction but open enough to allow me to explore. I tried a handful of small thumbnail compositions where I placed the lake in front of the scene, behind the scene, and altered small details here and there until I arrived at a solution. The sketch in red was the result of collaborative feedback and revisions which got us right where we needed to be.
Flats & Textures
Once the sketches were approved, I moved onto the flats and textures portion of my process. When I'm doing my flatting, I'm also determining my shapes, my simplification (which details are important? Which ones need to go?), my textures, and my lighting. It sounds overwhelming to some, but this method allows me to deal with each element of the illustration 1 by 1. I typically start with the background and work my way forward in the scene. This helps me establish big decisions early such as where the lighting is coming from, what the overall mood and tone of the piece is, etc. Once I have that, the rest is just filling out the details in a consistent way.
Conclusion & Details
With the flats in place, I move onto color. Each object is comprised of multiple layers to give me lots of control over everything you see. Its a process I enjoy (most of the time ^_^ ) and it allows me to shift things as needed.
Thanks for taking the time to view my projects and for all the comments! I wish I was able to respond to all of them, but I hope you glean some helpful information from my post on how pieces like this are created.
Big thanks to Bill Wardlow and Melissa Thompson at REI for making this such an enjoyable process and project! And thanks to my awesome agent, Deborah Wolfe, for her tireless efforts in bringing these projects to fruition.
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