Wacom tablet illustration

Ahh, I love this. This scene is from Bif's and my Boston trip that we took in 2005. HOLY COW, that seems like a long time ago. It is sometimes strange to think back to the pre-kid days. What did we do with our time back then? Anyhow, we hadn't even been dating a year when we took this trip. It was one of my most favorite vacations of all time. It was carefree, relaxing and a ton of fun.

Whenever we take a vacation, we always try to get "smooching pictures." This very photo may have been what started the smooching picture trend, now that I think of it. We placed my little Canon Powershot on the ground, set the timer and hopped up onto the ledge to smooch, with the ocean and setting sun as our backdrop.

And this is what my little camera captured.

I remember coming home from that vacation and having a serious case of PVD (post-vacation depression). I would gaze at this photo often, wishing myself back to that night.

I decided to try something fun while I gazed, so I dusted off my Wacom tablet and started to play! For those of you who are unfamiliar, a Wacom tablet is a graphics tablets that is "drawn" on with a stylus (digital pen) in order to edit photos and create digital graphics on your computer. My tablet happens to be a hundred years old, but there are some pretty swanky new tablets available these days. Some allow you to draw directly on the display surface. Oooooo, aaahhhh! Wacom tablets are super fun for nerdy graphics people like myself. Even the ancient varieties are fun.

I placed our Boston smooching photo in Illustrator and I started "drawing" over it with my stylus on the tablet. First I drew around the dark areas of the photograph, then the medium tones and then I drew in all of the highlights. The last thing I did was create the gradient for the sky and set it in the background.

There wasn't really any rhyme or reason to the way I created this illustration. I didn't work with layers (which would have been smart, in hindsight) and I wasn't very organized. If I do another illustration like this one, I will do many things differently.

My inspiration for this illustration came from the movie Waking Life. I was (and still am) enamored with the way that movie was animated. I wanted my illustration to look like a single frame from the film.

Here's a challenge for you. What are the FIVE main things I changed in the illustration? You might have to look at the bigger photos to catch everything.