Toucans, Owls and Sloths!

I have been traveling to Costa Rica for over 30 years. In my travels I search out places that are off the beaten path. I am not much for conventional tourism. It would be unusual for me to be drinking a pina colada on a white sandy beach. I prefer to find places where everyday people are doing extraordinary things. The Toucan Rescue Ranch is one of those places. It has been a place I have returned to every year. This colored pencil drawing was done to help promote The Toucan Rescue Ranch in the rehabilitation of injured and abandoned animals of Costa Rica. I am leading an Artistic Adventure Tour to Costa Rica for artists and photographers in 2018. We will be visiting the Toucan Rescue Ranch to support their efforts. You will be able to see owls, toucans, sloths and more up close and personal. Want to join us? Click here for more information about the tour. 50% of the sale of this painting will go to The Toucan Rescue Ranch…… You can OWN IT TODAY!

Art Design Advice- Start at the End


When I start a project for a client I always start with the finished product size or sizes. It is necessary to know what the end use will be. I want my clients to get the most versatile design work that can multi-purpose across a number of platforms. At first I found this concept to be a bit stifling until I realized  it made a huge difference in the way I approached my art. I recently designed a logo for the The Toucan Rescue Ranch in Costa Rica. They  were looking for me to create a design that would work as a logo, stationary, business cards, t-shirt design, website banner and Facebook Page Timeline Banner. I thought I would share with you my design process:

Mock up for FaceBook Timeline Banner

A rough sketch started the design process. Here is the mock up for FaceBook. ©2014 Mindy Lighthipe

  •  I took all the platforms the design would be used in and got the dimensions for each and wrote them down.
  • Working on tracing paper I created a series of life size windows with a ruler and a pencil for each set of dimensions.
  • I drew the elements, keeping in mind all of the sizes and where the most important elements should and shouldn’t be placed, using my windows for guides.
  • I scanned the preliminary sketch into Photoshop and placed it in the Facebook Timeline Banner dimensions, creating a mock up of what it would look like. This particular process was very critical as you can see from my mock up. I had to make sure that the avatar or profile picture did not cover anything important. As you can see there was not a lot of room to fit in all 3 animals, so the owls’ head is cropped. I played with this for some time as I didn’t want them all in perfect line. Each head is at a slightly different level for more visual appeal.
  • Once I got the composition working for all the different sizes and applications I was able to transfer the drawing and do it in color.
  • I normally work from back to front in a piece but decided to focus on the animals first to see what they would look like on a white background. For this piece I chose to work in colored pencil.
  • Toucan Rescue Ranch- © Mindy Lighthipe

    The design was scanned in case the client wanted to use it with a plain white background. ©2014 Mindy Lighthipe

  • I scanned the image into Photoshop again and saved this version with the white background. I wanted to give the client the option of using a simple white background.  I knew that once a colored background was in place, it would be difficult to remove it, and then only in Photoshop.
  • I then did a colored background and scanned it into the computer to do the final computer design work .
  • T-shirt designs are better when they are not contained within a perfect rectangle. The fabric stretches and often distorts the right angles of the rectangle.
  • Once the color piece was scanned I created the type and also created a ripped edge effect to take care of the rectangle distortion problem.

Here is the finished result!

Toucan Rescue Ranch Costa Rica ©2014 Mindy Lighthipe

The finished t-shirt design for the Toucan Rescue Ranch – ©2014 Mindy Lighthipe

If you would like to see the finished banner,  visit the The Toucan Rescue Ranches’ Facebook Page…… and don’t forget to “Like” their page. If you would like to show your support for them, please consider purchasing a t-shirt or other gift item at their Zazzle store. We visit The Toucan Rescue Ranch as part of my Art Tour to Costa Rica. To find out more about the tour click here.