sketchbook stories :: christina hess

Christy and I first met freshman year in college when we had our first general art class together, and as you can see we pretty much look the same as we did then :-)


I’m so lucky to call her my friend. Christy is an amazing artist, who paints beautiful ethereal goddess-like woman with an amazing sense of warmth and light. When you see her work, you might automatically assume that she paints in oils, but what’s so unbelievable that she actually does all of her finishes digitally! She totally blows me away!!


Here is Christy’s Sketchbook Story ::

CH: I was recently contacted by GreenPrints magazine to create a series of interior black and white illustrations for an article called “Return to Happiness”

CH: The art director sent me the article and asked me to create several thumbnails to choose from.  After passing a few emails back and forth we decided on the key image to be the two characters in an embrace kneeling in a freshly planted garden. Pat thought it was very important to have upturned pots and garden implements around them to accentuate the freshness of the planting. These small details add a specific narrative to the story and allowed me to enhance the angles and build up of the composition. 


CH: My main process always incorporates several pieces of references.  In this case, I had over 75 images in my bank to work from.  I use several historical illustrators and artists for inspiration as I work.  As you will see from the picture above I have a few Howard Pyles incorporated.  Also some of my thumbnails are mimicking Klimpt’s the kiss.  Although my personal favorite these were too conceptual and not narrative enough for the direction of the story. 


CH: Some reference photos were found images showing upturned dirt and garden scenes and others were photos I shot myself.  I asked two of my good friends to pose for me and then shot my own flower pots and garden tools to use as a guide.  I used a combination of my drawing and photo compilations to come up with a base to paint over. 


CH: After I sized and prepared the file in Photoshop to the specifications of the client I moved it into Corel Painter where I started blocking in values with the oil paint brushes. 


CH: In addition to the key I illustrated four drop caps and a dingbat which are to be printed under 1”.  So the simplicity of rendering was very important due to size. The final will be published and released in a few months.


And here’s where you can find Christy:



if you are an artist or would like to recommend an artist or designer to be featured in Sketchbook Stories please feel free to drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you :-)

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