“In Widow’s Moon” SLISP Artwork Process

“13 Stripes for 13 Years In Widow’s Moon He Still Appears” Artwork by Alisha McGraw ©SomeLikeItShotPhotography.com, Do Not Crop/Alter (Pinning/Sharing is OK)

This marks 13 years that Jenn has been surviving on memories of her husband Michael, a U.S. Marine. She approached me with the idea of doing something special with his photo. It was different than the normal whimsical style of pin up artwork or holiday artwork we have created for her in the past, and it really was my pleasure to do something new and more meaningful.

Essentially I created this Blog to share with you how our artistic process works. Many new clients are curious about Digital Art, but not brave enough to give it a try until after a portrait session where I explain it in person. Have no fear, explanation is here!! :)

It all started with a meeting. Jenn had booked us for a Pin Up themed Digital Artwork session and we added on this memorial. Our Digital Artwork sessions include a couple different images, with one style of hair & make-up. We planned ahead that we would take her hair down for this one and it wouldn’t be too much of a difficult change for her photo. Jenn had a general idea of what she wanted, but not everyone has ideas or a vision when they come to us for artwork, which is completely fine. If you don’t have an idea we will brain storm ideas together in that first meeting. I can’t emphasize how difficult it is to do a session without the consultation. When people want to skip it or talk over the phone I always feel bad. That meeting is really where I get to know you and where ideas will develop best and its when I get to think about what I need to do to prepare for your session ahead of time. The same day as your meeting, you try on wardrobe from our wardrobe rack (if you don’t have anything of your own and you want vintage pin up looking outfits). Jenn was wearing casual clothes in this one, so she brought the outfit with her to take a look.

OK, here’s the embarrassing part … my initial sketch. I provide a little hand drawn sketch for anyone who has a good enough imagination to visualize with me haha. Sometimes clients trust me 100% with the artistic direction and I love that, but once I have invested hours into an art design I can’t go back and start over, so its always safer to have an approved sketch at least. I have taken art classes and should be much better at drawing but I’ll keep my job as a photographer/digital artist haha. These are usually drawn up in 2 minutes or so, just to give a general idea about the composition I am going for. Here is the sketch for Jenn’s Digital Artwork image … on the back I was brainstorming about the title. I decided on a little poem I made but didn’t tell her until the image was complete, since sometimes it changes in the process.

Jenn’s general ideas was her sitting on the beach alone looking at the moon. Originally we thought we would make Michael an angel behind her but she was open to any ideas I had if I wanted to make some changes. So she emailed me his photo and I sketched the idea in a few ways and decided to use the one above, including him in the moon.

I knew I needed a few good foundation photos for the artwork. This is a photo of a beach I took during a camping trip in Humboldt County (Northern California)…at one point my Boston Terriers were in the image but I removed them with photoshop magic.

This is from the fountain which is at the end of The Prado at Balboa Park (San Diego), at night, when the fountain was off. I tinted it blue since it was a warm color from the lights around…

Then, at Jenn’s pinup artwork session, after all the cutsie pin up photos were done, we took her hair down and she got into her clothes for this image…

I worked my computer magic (and I have actually taken photoshop classes in college & at workshops to learn what I call magic) merging the photos together.

There are 13 stripes, I wanted to do something since this was the 13 year point for her. I couldn’t avoid thinking of including patriotic symbols since he was a Marine and decided that 13 stripes in the water would be perfect. Plus a night’s sky needed stars, why not the stars from a flag so I added those individually…there are 50 stars in the sky.

After a few hours (about 10-15 hours were put into this one image since I already had the foundation images and didn’t need to take any photos for the image to be complete) this is the result. :) There are still a couple things I plan to do for the print size, like a nice framed finish with a little different crop, but overall I was very happy with how it turned out. Hope you enjoyed a peak into my process.

Some like good ole portraiture

Some like to see magic on the computer

Some Like It Shot

– 2012 Digital Imaging Photographer of the Year, Professional Photographers of San Diego County

2 thoughts on ““In Widow’s Moon” SLISP Artwork Process

  1. This is so cool to see how your process works and to see it all come together at the end. This is a beautiful and memorable work of art, one that will always be treasured, I’m sure.

    • Thanks! I am glad you like the process photos, a lot of people weren’t sure what the differences were between portraits and digital artwork …so hopefully this answered their curiosity. :)

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