Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas! 2016

Luke 2:1-20 (New Living Translation)

"At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancee, who was now obviously pregnant.
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 

    14  'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'

15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them."

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Colors for Al Jardine's Single Artwork Drawn by Guy Gilchrist

Final artwork for Al Jardine's Hurry Up Hurry Up Santa Claus drawn by Guy Gilchrist with colors by Philip A. Buck

    Hello everybody! I wanted to share this with you all before Christmas. Back in August, I had yet another opportunity to do some color work for THE Guy Gilchrist, but this project was a little big different. He was hired to do the artwork for a Christmas single by Al Jardine (Yes, THE Al Jardine! As in the The Beach Boys!) When Guy asked if I could color his artwork, my reply was a speedy, "Yes!" The final image is above. As you can see it features Al Jardine & Rudolph in an updated version of Santa's sleigh. Pretty fun, huh?!


    When I'm working on the digital color art for a project that has a color palette that's already established (like the characters in VeggieTales comics) or when I'm working on a project that needs to evoke a certain style or mood (like this one,) I'll often gather together color samples & reference images into one page that I can leave open in whatever program I'm using. As you can see above, I used this reference page to narrow down the colors while getting a grasp on on what stylistic approach I wanted to use- Classic Christmas meets The Beach Boys!

The fantastic original black & white drawing by Guy Gilchrist!

    Above is the original black & white drawing that Guy sent me. Isn't it great? He really knocked it out of the park! I knew right away this one would be lots of fun. Below you can see what the illustration looked like after I added color flats, shadows, highlights, light effects/haze & colored the lines. I really wanted to go with that charming old school Christmas vibe Guy was hinting at, so I used a lot of Kyle Webster's custom Photoshop brushes to get that soft yet painterly look. What a game-changer those brushes can be!

Drawn by Guy Gilchrist colored by Philip A. Buck

    After all of that hullabaloo was accomplished, I set my sights on the meteorological aspects of the picture: SNOW! But what kind of snow?!

    Here are just two of quite a number of different versions I tried with snow. Some snow was more flakey, some more fluffy, some big & some large. These were the two I sent to Mr. Gilchrist, (along with the snowless version above,) to give him & the client plenty of options.

    When coloring Mr. Jardine's hair, I noticed that in some of my reference the hair was more brown or reddish, while in other images it was more blonde. I tried to color it with a color that was in between them all. Later, I received word that the client wished for the hair color to be more blonde, so it was back into Photoshop for me! Now I can say I'm also that kind of colorist too, in a sense.

Final artwork for Al Jardine's Hurry Up Hurry Up Santa Claus drawn by Guy Gilchrist & colored by Philip A. Buck

    (Trumpets sound!) Here it is!!! The final artwork used for the single, Hurry Up Hurry Up Santa Claus by Al Jardine (without the final text they added later.) I have to say, I'm pretty happy with out it turned out! Funnily enough, as far as I can tell, this image has only been used on Al Jardine's social media for promoting the song. The image that accompanies the single on iTunes & elsewhere is a completely different one. Go figure! I'm sure there is a good reason for that, but I'm not in the loop enough to know it. haha! I was rather pleased however, to see this online bright & bold! I'm very thankful for having had the opportunity to work on it.

    You can find Al Jardine's song HERE. You can find more of Guy Gilchrist's work HERE and HERE. And remember, my sister, Mary Morris's New Christmas Album, Mary Morris: Home For Christmas is still available (& now only $10!) HERE.

    Well, that's the whole kit and caboodle (whatever that means!) Thanks for checking it all out. I sure hope you all have a delightful & glorious Christmas & happy holidays! May God bless us, everyone!!!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Mary Morris - Home for Christmas: Graphic Design for My Sister's Album

    Oh Boy! I'm so excited! Not only is it almost Christmas, but also my sister, Mary Morris, has a new Christmas Album out! You may remember Mary's talents from her hilarious Adele Hello parody music video, Snow last year. Since then, she has been busy! Her new album, Mary Morris - Home for Christmas is officially available for digital download & CD orders at! On the album, you'll hear Mary's jazzy renditions of Christmas classics.

One of the multiple versions of the CD's DiscArtwork.

The more minimal, final version of the CD's disc artwork.  
    As Mary was preparing to release her new Christmas CD with the incredible A&M Productions, I was asked to finish up it's graphic design. Now, straight up graphic design isn't something I do a lot of, but I was happy to participate & help in any way possible! During the album design process, I took the provided photography (by Lisa Price Photography!) into Photoshop & Illustrator to add all of the text & adjustments. I even trimmed a tree branch in PS to make a bit more room for the album's title. For the text & layout I relied heavily on the preliminary design work that A&M had put together. I kind of used their work as a "rough draft" that I could build upon while changing fonts & moving things around etc. Arlen at A&M's work was a big help! I also had assistance from the great Chad Morris (my sister's husband.) Such a wise fellow.

    Gosh, I'm so glad I got to help out with this fun project. I'm really proud of what Mary & A&M productions have put together! It's such great music! I hope that all of you will take a moment to check out Mary's website & get your awesome Christmas music today. Also, be sure to check out the promo video on the website! Until next post,  may God bless you & may you all have a Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

A video posted by Philip A. Buck (@philipabuck) on