Tag Archives: photoshop

What an Artist Does When Her Heart Has Been Broken

The Broken Heart Series

Sometimes there are just no words to express how you feel. This is a series of hearts I put together as a therapeutic exercise to get through a hard time in my personal life. I can actually say it’s made me feel a lot better to focus my energy on something creative and expressive instead of dwelling on things that I cannot change.

Here’s to moving on and new beginnings.

– alyssa



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Dictator Babies

The Power of the Mustache

I’ve been spending my spare time drawing mustaches on babies. Here’s some of my newest work inspired by some sketches I did a few years back while I was in first year university at Sheridan College.




I did these sketches after we had a discussion in class about how one feature can change one’s entire perception of someone. Something like a mustache can speak volumes when it comes to an illustration. This got me thinking about juxtaposition and how I could use this idea in my own illustration. Then I thought about how a lot of dictators have very distinctive facial hair and it came to me; Dictator Babies!!

I’ve had the sketch for years and always had a fondness for it so I decided to redo it digitally in my current style. I’m getting into doing more portraiture and am going to be focused on that more in the near future. Eventually I want to have a separate Portraits section on my website but in the meantime the site has just been updated with new work including these little babies so if you get chance drop by alyssaandres.com, have a look and let me know what you think!

Until next time.

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Do It Yourself:

Being the collage fanatic I am, when the Daily Bread Food Bank asked me for some creative input on their annual hunger report my mind immediately pictured a collage made up of packaging materials from various nonperishable food sources. In my mind the collage could act as a reoccurring theme throughout the report to tie together the various paragraphs, headings, infographics and statistics. The food bank commissioned this 8.5″ x 11″ collage and is going to use it as a type treatment for the titles and headings in the report and for this blog post I documented the steps that went into making the finished type, from blank slate to .pdf final.

Step 1: Blank Slate

I worked on a gessoed masonite board that I reused from a past project. It doesn’t matter if the board is perfectly white because you’re going to be collaging right over it.

Step 2: Add Paint

The Daily Bread wanted white as the predominant colour in this piece but also asked for red, orange and yellow to be the main palette. When using recycled materials it’s hard to control exactly what you get in terms of colour so I wanted to use paint. Adding in a background colour in which to paste on top of also speeds up the collage process.

Step 3: Cutting and Pasting

I like to start with large pieces that are going to act as background once everything else is on. Make sure you wait until the paint is fully dry from step 2. I use matte medium to paste down thin materials like tissue paper, newsprint or paper towel and a craft glue for more solid materials like cardboard or fabric.

Step 4: More Paper, More Paint

When I do a collage, even if it’s just for use as a texture, I treat it like a painting. It needs to have balance, it needs to have depth and like a painting, I’ll know once it’s done.  Once I’ve got enough paper down I like to go back in with a paint brush. For this piece I went back in with white, being the predominant colour in the piece.

Step 5: Finish & Photograph

Once I’m content with the finished product I take it outside and photograph it. I’ve tried scanning but find the end product always comes out best when photographed on a bright day (not necessarily sunny, even overcast is okay if it’s bright) It’s INSANE what lighting can do to your original piece so try several different spots and see what you get. I upload the file into my computer and crop it to the edges of the board.

Step 6: Photoshop/Illustrator

Once I have the cropped collage saved I bring it into photoshop to play with the levels. I adjust brightness, saturation and hue to get it exactly the way I want it. I also sharpened this one to reduce slight blur from the photograph. I then went into illustrator to choose the fonts I wanted to use.

Step 7: Finished Type

Once I have my fonts chosen I select Type…Creat outlines and copy and paste the outlines on top of my collage in photoshop in a separate layer. From here it’s as easy as using your magic wand tool to select the type, selecting the collage layer and clicking copy and then paste it onto a separate layer. Now if you hide your type and collage layers in the layers palette all you’ll see is your new type treatment out of the collage you just made! I like to add drop shadows to give the 3D effect from the type.

You can create multiple treatments with one collage by just adjusting the levels in photoshop to different settings each time. It’s a really cool, easy way to do fun things out of type.

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Daily Bread Food Bank Illustrations

The Hunger Report

A while back I had mentioned that I had been asked to do some illustrations for a not-for-profit that is near and dear to my heart, The Daily Bread Food Bank. Originally we talked about doing a series of small portraits for the cover of their annual Hunger Report of different demographics of people who use the food bank because the theme of the report is “The Face of Hunger” and the aim is to break the stereotypes on the sort of people who use the food bank.

Instead, they opted to go with a series of three larger images for the inside of the report that correspond with different quotes from real people who were surveyed from the report.

One talks about a mother with her kids and how happy and smiling the kids were even though they didn’t have enough food on the table.

Another spoke about doctors from other countries who had come to Canada and now were struggling to find work to put food on the table.

The last quote spoke about elderly people forced into early retirement without enough in pension to sustain themselves.

I had a lot of fun working on these illustrations and it was nice to get back to doing the sort of work I did in University on different projects like my children’s book “Things I’ll Miss When I’m Grown Up”. It’s a really versatile technique that allows for a lot of detail and expression and combines my love of traditional collage and digital work. I was also happy to do illustrations for a cause that I believe so strongly in. My boyfriend, Matt, and I had been volunteering at the Food Bank since December when I was asked to do this project and I loved being able to volunteer my time in this way as well.

I will post images of the finished Hunger Report once it’s done at the end of the summer but for now I would love to hear your comments and criticisms.

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Baby’s Fourth Website

A New Website for a New Start

Now that I’ve been out of school and on my own in the big bad world for an entire year I’ve gotten passed my initial laissez faire attitude to the “what am I going to do with my life” part of graduating. I took the first year of freedom to travel, move out, spend time with my friends, family, work on some personal projects and enjoy myself. Now I’m starting to think big picture like “How am I going to make a legitimate living?” “How am I going to save for retirement?” “What do I really want to do with my life?”

I’ve always wanted to be involved in something creative, and when I discovered Illustration in high school I felt that I had found my calling. I know that it’s not the most reasonable career choice (although my plan A was to be a rockstar and that didn’t work out) but I feel like after spending 5 years in school and earning my degree in Illustration it would be foolish of me to give up so easily.

So this brings me to the topic of this blog post, which is the (re-re-re)launch of my new website, alyssaandres.com which I’ve been working hard to complete over the past few weeks. The aim of this site is simplicity. I want the viewers to see my artwork in all its glory. There are many online outlets that allow for me to ramble and rant, this site is straight to the point, here’s my art…look at it!!!

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and criticisms on my site, my work and my crazy goal of becoming a professional illustrator. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments and in the mean time ENJOY!!

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