Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mushroom Festival: Matsutakes

Mount Pisgah Arboretum invited me to create the poster artwork for their annual Mushroom Festival once again this year, hurrah! You may have noticed earlier posts where I was sketching pine trees, bears, and more pine trees...that was all research for this poster.

This year's featured mushroom is the matsutake. It's a popular edible fungus, not only for humans but also bears and elk. I started off by reading a ton of books and websites to get a sense of the species. Then I made some crude clay sculptures to get a sense of the size and structure of these beauties.
And yes, I also roughed out a bear's schnozz from cardboard so I could see that to scale in relationship to the mushrooms. It was like a puppet show for a while there, me moving the cardboard bear-head-on-a-stick around to different angles, and taking tons of snapshots all the while. 
I "painted" the artwork in Photoshop, starting with a very simple version, and adding details and complexity based on my reference photos.
There's always a point where it just feels like a muddy mess, midway through...
But with any luck, that resolves itself into a tidy final product.
Posters and t-shirts will be on sale at the big event down in Eugene, Oregon on Sunday, October 28. Hope some of you can make it out to enjoy this excellent educational (and incredibly fun) community event!