Maguayan: Goddess of the Sea (Illustration)

“Long ago, Maguayan ruled the vast endless ocean.”

Digital Illustration, Photoshop. June 1, 2015. By D. Varron

Long ago, Maguayan ruled the vast, endless ocean.

Long ago, Maguayan ruled the vast, endless ocean.


Animation Pioneer: Lotte Reiniger

Lotte Reiniger was born in Berlin-Charlottenberg in 1899. She is known as a pioneer of silhouette animation, pre dating Disney by 10 years. She was fascinated with the cinema and Chinese Silhouette puppetry as a child and later enrolled in the acting group The theater of Max Reinhardt where she began to draw silhouettes of the actors and also created title cards to the films of Paul Wegener. Her silhouette intertitles for Wegener’s Der Rattenfänger von Hameln (The Pied piper of Hameln) was very successful and she was then admitted to the experimental animation and short film studio Institut für Kulturforschung (Institute for Cultural Research). Here she met Carl Koch who would become her creative partner and husband.

With Cark Koch as producer, she directed a number of short films. She is well known for her film Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926). After its premier in Paris, it became a success both with wide audiences and with critics. She worked on a variety of animation, live action and advertising projects and moved to London in 1949 during Nazi-Germany. In 1953 she partnered with Louis Hagen Jr., and founded Primrose productions where she produced over a dozen silhouette short films based on the Grimms’ Fairy Tales for BBC and Telecasting America.

Reiniger was awarded the Filmband in Gold of the Deutscher Filmpreis in 1972 and in 1979 she received the Great Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. Reiniger died in Dettenhausen, Germany, on 19 June 1981, at the age of 82.

As artists and animators, we can carry forward her passion for her art, and the appreciation that something as seemingly simple as black paper on a light background can create stunning, dramatic and entertaining works. This is a reminder that certain simplicity in form does not necessarily diminish the quality of animation, nor does the complexity of 3d animation always trump the earlier forms.

Here is a link to her film Prince Achmed.






Poster designers

Poster Design

There are many styles of posters to match the many reasons behind their creation. Some rely on heavily manipulated photography, while others employ abstract shapes and textures. Some have wild, flamboyant typography, while others have crisp and clean organization. The following designers are known for their iconic concert posters.

Mike Klay

Mike Klay creates stunning vector illustrations in his concert posters. By restricting the color palette for each poster, Klay is able to deliver a laser sharp focus on the message at hand. Far from stiff, Klay’s typography is structured yet expressive, and always inventive. Klay has designed posters for Billy Idol, The Crystal Method, Helmet, Symian Mobile Disco, and many more.

Rex Ray

Rex Ray is both a designer and artist, creating work for myriad purposes. His concert posters are much acclaimed for their exciting colors and multiple levels of stimulating detail. Ray has designed posters for music icons Iggy Pop, B-52s, and Jane’s Addiction, as well as more modern artists like Beck, Bjork, and Oasis.

Bonnie MacLean

Bonnie MacLean, like Rex Ray, is both a designer and artist. Her concert posters are synonymous with the 1960s aesthetic. The organic, flowing curves and elastic type, combined with capricious but memorable color palettes, are as invigorating today as they were decades ago. MacLean designed posters for Jefferson Airplane, the Byrds, The Doors, and Pink Floyd, among other noteworthy acts.


Dan Kuhlken and Nathan Goldman, the creative forces behind DKNG, have an envious client list that includes Warner Brothers, HBO, MTV, and Taco Bell. When they aren’t developing amazing work for these clients, they’re focusing on promotional material for Eric Clapton, The Black Keys, Dave Matthews Band, Cake, and many more. Their modern illustration style, clean typography, and silky smooth color palettes are relevant and gripping for today’s audiences.

Drawing from Reference in Illustrator

To draw from reference in illustrator when you have a image that you want to work with, there are two approaches you can take:

Trace. You can place a layer above your photo layer (make sure your photo layer is locked) and trace directly above that with empty fill paths. You can trace precise contours and proportions this way and fill the paths later.

Reference. You can also place your photo next to your later and draw this way. Its not as precise but will allow you to use your creative juices in interpreting the photo. Using this method, guides will be helpful to help make sure proportions are correct. Use the paths with empty fills just as in the tracing method.

Regardless of the method, using reference photos along with a thorough understanding of your tools is a process of design and will help you to create wonderful illustrations with precision and creative flair.

The most essential tools in adobe illustrator

Vector graphics are all about precision. Adobe Illustrator is used to create vector graphics which are based on a system of points and paths. These points ands paths are precise and use a mathematical grid that allows shapes to be sized without loss of quality. Here are some basic and essential tools to know in adobe illustrator.

Pen tool

The Pen tool is the main drawing tool that allows you to create any shape you want. With the pen tool, you click and drag to create corner points and curve points rather then actually drawing objects. With the pen tool you draw the points that define the lines.

Shapes tools

In the illustrator tool bar there are a variety of shapes that you can use, such as the rectangle, ellipse and star tool. Though it may seem simplistic to use these basic shapes to create an object, it is important to remember that most objects are really just a combination of shapes. Combined with the Pen tool, designers can quickly and accurately create a graphic.

Fill and Stroke

The fill and stroke are attributes that can be applied to a shape, path and text. The fill is the color of the object and the stroke is the outline with which different thickness and styles can be used. Fill and stroke don’t always have to be applied, as a shape doesn’t have to have a visible stroke or fill.

Selection tool and Direct-Selection tool

The Selection tool is referred to as the “black arrow” tool, and the Direct-Selection tool is commonly referred to as the “white arrow” tool. These tools are similar but have slightly different purposes.

The Selection tool is a more general selection tool that can be used to select, resize, and reposition whole objects. It’s also useful for selecting multiple objects to create groups.

The Direct-Selection tool is more focused and it can select and reposition individual points and paths. It’s also useful for selecting one object within a group of objects.