Love and life in the summer with Amphitrite

Well… It’s been a very wet summer so far, so it seems appropriate that our current summer background on hai is a maritime scene. We’ve had it up on the site for almost a month now and the artwork is by the very talented Marc Scheff.

The above image shows the finished work, but you may or may not have noticed the artwork being used on the site is slightly different to accommodate the website’s layout and requirements, as is normally the case with most of our website backgrounds.

Marc started working on this background several months ago, although obviously it didn’t take him several months to produce. We stopped and started on it a few times as time allowed. Sometimes I waited for him and sometimes he was waiting for me, but we never rush our backgrounds and never enforce a deadline.

This is the first sketch Marc sent me, followed straight away by some very advanced mock ups. The reason some of the work was so advanced at this point is explained by Marc later on.*

At the time when he sent me the sketch and previews I didn’t know he had been fighting a creative block and had played with a number of other ideas before deciding on the one that stuck and finally became a hai background.

As you can see from his idea montage there was no shortage of interesting concepts. Creative block? Rubbish! To me a creative block is a blank page. I think Marc’s just a perfectionist, which isn’t a bad thing, especially when you’re as talented as him and produce beautiful work time and time again… He sent me the montage after the final background had been produced as I had requested some of the working drafts from him for this post.

Going back to original process, the next image Marc sent me resembled what would become the final image, but not the actual background.

After a couple discussions, a number of changes were made and I was sent this mockup. As you can see the artwork has become wider and shorter to accommodate a more standard screen size.

At this point the background was almost there and ready for Marc to produce the final image that would become the one we would actually use on the site.

For me this was a challenge because the assignment was so open-ended. “Summer.” Pretty broad. I hit creative block, and hard. I did a lot of sketches, showed some friends, but nothing was clicking. When I finally spoke to Rebecca Guay, a mentor of mine, she suggested just drawing what I felt like whether it fit or not. That’s when I drew the guys in the boat, and everything else seemed to follow. *I also took a big risk and waited to show the folks at HAI until I was pretty close to done painting, something I have not done and would not advise. However, I wanted to really work through all the corners of the creative exploration I was doing in this piece before getting feedback. I knew I might have to start over and I prepared myself for that. Luckily, Darren and Jane loved the image, and taking that extra time and not rushing this out helped me discover some new tools and a whole new style for my work. I am very happy with the image, the process, and the path my work has taken because of this assignment. I am glad to see it up on the site too!Marc Scheff

Once the final artwork had been produced, there were a couple small tweaks and a bit of image/file optimisation to do which Marc and I did with ease. You can see the finished background on hire an illustrator and the finished artwork on his personal website.

Marc was great to work with and very on the ball when it came to working with layouts and web based imagery. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with him again in the future.

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