There are times in every professional’s life when they begin to feel a little stale in their work atmosphere. I am definitely no exception. Recently there have been less and less moments where I have felt super inspired or a part of a really exciting project.
However, a week or so ago I was handed a program cover to design titled: “Follow Your Heart”. After looking at the “sample” suggestions, which were very typical… I did feel a bit of cynicism about the topic, as it seems like we’re always encouraging our youth to follow their hearts, dreams, and ambitions. When in fact, real life can be misleading; hearts are easily broken, and dreams are left far behind as we’re stuck, working like mindless machines.
I put off working on this cover, as several other menial tasks had come my way, but today I finally had a chance to revisit the project and put it together. I liked the idea of the dancer forming a heart in one of the suggested images, and found a really beautiful photograph that I used as a reference.
I wanted the whole thing to feel free and expressive, like the content, so I started with a paper texture layer and slowly built the background using a variety of watercolor brushes to create a vivid display of color and motion.
I took the dancer and muted the original color, added paint daub and watercolor effects to it, then went back and colored the image with water color brushes applied on different layers with different layer effects. I liked the general composition of the photo but further manipulated it into a full pop art expression. Once those two separate pieces were finished, I added them together, added a drop shadow and text, and a few other final touches.
I’m really happy with the end result, and have realized that while some days are rougher than others, there are still some days when I realize that I have in many ways followed my heart, and achieved my dream. I know I have created many beautiful things that I’m very proud of. Every day is different, so I guess I have to remind myself of the message at hand, don’t give up, just…follow your heart.