Christmas Photos and Buffalos – the Pulham Family Christmas Card 2014

This year my Mother, who means well, wanted to take a family photo for her Christmas cards. It seemed like a good idea, so my sister and I sat down for a little family photoshoot in September.

Now. I don’t know if you’ve ever needed to get a Bouvier de Flanders and two possibly hungover 20-somethings to try to pose for a photo before, but this is what the majority of the Christmas photos looked like:

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Not exactly Xmas Card material, you see — and Team Pulham needed a Plan B!

Fortunately I had done some previous illustrations for a good friend’s wedding, so I set out to draw myself, my sister, and the family bear instead of using a photo. I did it by tracing the basic outline of one of the decent photos of my sister and myself in Illustrator, and then adding in our features and drawn elements.

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The line drawing was then popped into Photoshop, and the skin tones were added using the brush tool and a very low percentage of opacity in order to airbrush the skin colour layer by layer.

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The process was then repeated for the lips, hair, and also the clothes (in separate layers, for easier clean up!)Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 09.50.45 Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 13.11.46 Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 13.39.15

Then the process moved towards the dog. I had never drawn a dog in this manner before, but found that a bigger brush was ideal for getting the roughness of his fur.

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Then came the merging of the dog and the humans. Not in a creepy way (except I noticed later that after I flipped the image, it really looked like my sister’s arm was up the dog’s butt.)

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The joined colour version – I ended up copying and pasting a duplicate of the colour layer to make the colours on my sister and I pop.

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My mother requested a little extra festiveness…and voila! The finished image!
Emily and Amanda Garland

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