“Night City” holiday card

This was possibly my most difficult card design project so far; it’s a new style for me so it was exciting, but also took several tries and was particularly difficult to reproduce. I had the idea to use the new abstract markmaking I’ve been working on to depict a city from the air as the early winter night is falling and lights are coming on. I started by setting up a few backgrounds that showed the last slice of sunset over the edge of the paper:

01 backgrounds

I started experimenting with markmaking on backgrounds that I was pretty sure wouldn’t be the final choice. Here’s the second draft, on my drawing board:



It solved the first problem I had, of the markmaking not looking like it was integrated with the background, but this one actually looked too abstract: the lights weren’t standing out, and there was no sense of depth. I actually ended up solving the lights problem directly after getting back from a trip that involved two night flights. One of the things that struck me about seeing city lights at night was that there’s actually a variety of tones, and that’s part of what creates the pattern.

03 aerial lights

(I took this photo on my plane ride back)

I started using different colors of paint to make the lights, and eventually ended up with a design that got close. Here’s what finally printed:

EHG Night City

And here’s what the cards look like!

night city

They’re available on Etsy now; go here to check them out.