Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Many Phases of Mary

I recently completed a new portfolio piece that I like to call: Mary Had a Gigantic Lamb. You might have seen the image floating around my Instagram or Facebook pages last week! Like any other illustration, it started off as a thumbnail sketch no bigger than a business card:

I sketch a lot like this, it's my favorite part of creating art. It's freedom. There is no such thing as a mistake in this stage and you never know what you'll end up with. In this case, I liked the idea of Mary and her lamb in the rain with an umbrella. Why does it pay to show your sketches to friends? Sometimes they offer up fresh ideas that help break you out of your story telling comfort zone. Because of a quick conversation with a friend (Thanks, Ellen!) I chose a different moment of the walk to illustrate:

I don't usually do a color study, but I planned to watercolor this illustration and thought it might be smart to play around. I flipped the composition to keep the focus on lamby and kept the study pretty primary:

And then, oh my, I can't even believe I am showing this to the world...I attempted to watercolor a more finished sketch version. I'll just call this one another color study test, ok? 

I would have liked to continue working on my watercolor skills with this piece. Currently, however, the computer just allows me to do more with texture and contrast. (It also allows for a lot more quick experimentation with color palette.) I love adding natural wood grains, patterned fabrics, and experimenting with different brush textures in Photoshop. 

And there they are, from start to finish! 
Time lapse: About 2 months

If you enjoyed the process posting, please let me know and I'll make it a point to do more. Feel free to leave comments below. I'd love to hear from you! 



  1. Yay! Great work, Renee; it turned out awesome!

  2. The rug! The walls! The wood! The RAIN! The cuteness takes over but those details are amazing. Sigh.