Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Process: Julianna Brion

For this Wednesday instead of an interview, we've got an awesome process post by the talented Julianna Brion. She's going to cover from start to finish how she completed her recent January desktop for The Fox is Black. Julianna's work is exciting and unique - I'm happy to be able to share this behind the scenes glimpse of her process!

Hi everyone! I’m very flattered to have been asked to create a post about the process in which I work here at Ten-Paces.  It’s really only recently that I feel that I’ve found a specific process that works for me.  The unfortunate thing however, is I don’t really have any special tricks up my sleeve to share.  I use Photoshop in the most basic way possible.  Nope, no gradient maps or obscure photoshop-shortcuts here...My process is actually pretty simple.   My secret is basically...spending an immense amount of time on the initial sketching stages and the pencil drawing.

So, I started out with Rand Renfrow’s amazingly fun sketch for The January desktop for The Fox is Black!

I start out by doing a rough sketch in blue to figure out placement and composition.  This is the stage where I become most obsessive.  The biggest tip I could give anyone is not to rush through this stage!

Julianna: After this step I sometimes use the light box to trace in pencil.  I usually don’t follow my initial sketch too strictly or else I feel the drawing ends up a bit stiff.  I tend to work a bit impulsively, making changes as I see fit and allowing mistakes to happen and become a part of the piece.  The original sketching and drawing probably take up around half of the time when creating a piece. I’m also not afraid to start over completely.  I probably drew this entire drawing twice before I was satisfied with it.

Once the piece is scanned in, I clean up the drawing a little, keeping in certain mistakes that possibly add to the drawing and taking out others that detract.  Then I add some random flat colors.  Photoshop is pretty much like a coloring book to me, I don’t use it to do anything fancy, although I do usually keep all my colors in separate layers.  After the spot color, I selectively color in some of the lines, or erase them altogether where the drawing calls for it.

Choosing a color scheme also takes a lengthy amount of time within my process.   Digital color does not come to me as naturally as when I use real paint, but I often find myself turning to it just because of time restraints.  This is the point where there is a long period of staring at my computer screen, making minuscule adjustments, and experimenting until things feel somewhat right. Above are only a few of the color combinations I was working with for the desktop.

VoilĂ .  And that is how the January desktop came to be!  Thank you for reading and I hope some people will find this helpful!

A super thanks to Julianna for sharing her process for this piece. Her desktop is still available for download on The Fox is Black - so make good use of it for the next week! Keep your eyes peeled as February approaches for a desktop by Rand Renfrow!


  1. This is soooo great ! Thanks
    I am much more impressed because this is actually my desktop image !! :D
    I'll admire it more now :)

  2. This was so neat! I love reading about other artists' processes. I'm always super fiddly, with the colours, too. I am an Hue/Saturation slider adjustment junkie in Photoshop haha