Personal Projects

Customized Star Wars Illustration: Naomi Strikes Back

First of all, please forgive the title of this post. I just couldn’t resist.

This blog was a significant part of my social media presence for my Social Media Design class (the reason behind all of my shiny new social media channels), but it didn’t cover every requirement for the class. I also had to create an ad campaign, and create new artwork specifically for said ad campaign. Given that I do not have all the time in the world (I wish), I wasn’t sure that I could create an entirely new vector illustration within the constraints of the deadline. However, I was reasonably certain that I could create something new-ish. Ever since December, I had been wishing that I had my own Jedi illustration to match the illustration I created as a Christmas present. Who doesn’t want a radical poster of themselves as a Jedi? I had created a few sketches idly as part of my usual church sketching session, but I hadn’t done anything with them since.

Gage Sicosta and Lex Desthei were meant to be best space buddies, friends and adventurers wreaking havoc across the galaxy.


So what could be more natural than creating a companion piece? With this shoddy justification bouncing around in my mind, I set out to work. As is customary, I began by outlining the shapes over the image of my sketches to start off the composition. I pulled photos of myself from my computer and traced them to attempt a more natural, realistic profile of myself, and then progressed towards making this iteration look like the illustration I had created approximately three months before.

2017-03-16 (1)

This was my first attempt at recording my process by taking frequent screencaps, showcasing the creative process behind my illustrations without livestreaming or recording it. As you can see, it’s a messy process!

2017-03-16 (4)

Once I had finished my side profile to my satisfaction, I was able to move on to her Jedi robes. You can see the sketch in the background of this shot, as well as a good view of my working environment in Adobe Illustrator.

Lex-In Progress 1-01

Here’s a better example of the “underpinnings” behind the finished product. The pose is not exactly like the initial sketch, but they’re similar enough that you can get a good idea of how I go from that sketch to a digital product.

From there, I continued to finish her robes, create a similar background to the Gage Sicosta illustration, add the glow and gradient effects, and finish the shading.

Lex-In Progress-01

I’m pleased by the fact that this illustration looks more like me than any other vector self-portrait I’ve done, but it also makes a great companion piece to my other Star Wars illustration.

Gage and Lex-01.jpg

The fictional versions of ourselves look fabulous together, and created some interesting, engaging ads for the ad campaign required for my class!

Lex and Gage Crop-01.jpg

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any questions, requests, or if you’d like to see yourself as an awesome, steely-eyed Star Wars character!





Personal Projects

Marie Antoinette Illustration Revamp

My history with graphic design has been long, if not exactly illustrious. I took my first official graphic design class in my sophomore year of high school at Clearfield High, and I absolutely loved it. The projects were interesting and engaging, and the teacher was knowledgeable and skilled. And then my dad got hired at Amazon. I was cruelly ripped from Clearfield High and dumped into Henry M. Jackson High School, where I took a grand total of two more graphic design classes and basically taught myself how to use Rhino and Adobe Illustrator. At the time, I wasn’t comfortable using the Pen tool, and the Curvature tool did not yet exist. So I used the Paint tool, outlined the stroke to create lineart, and then colored in the drawings on another layer.

Marie Final-01

This was one of my final projects for my Graphic Design 3 class, where we were asked to create portfolio pieces. I made this project using the aforementioned Paint Tool method during my junior year of high school, and my teacher shot it down after I presented it with no background. I grudgingly created a background and turned it in, and used it as an example of my work for years.

It is now my junior year of college, and I have to take an Intro to Graphic Design class as a requirement for my Web Design and Development BS. In an attempt to review my tips and tricks I use in Illustrator, I decided to revamp this particular illustration, and actually illustrate it using the skills I learned in my Vector Graphics class, as well as a few hints I picked up from my Intro to Graphic Design teacher.

Marie 1

I began by patterning Marie after a template I had been building for another character. The dress required quite a few edits to match the 1700’s historical style, rather than the 1890’s dress I had been using. But once I had the basic silhouette down, I was able to start creating the patterns for the lace, the jewelry, and the signature hairstyle.

Marie 2

The next step was to recreate the background. I wanted something subtle and simple that would let Marie stand out, so I tried to get the basic shapes down without worrying about the final color palette.

Marie 3

At this point, I had most of the large details finished. I still needed to fix her arms, as well as add more of the intricate details to finish off the dress. I was still using the bright palette, but after a lecture from my Intro to Graphic Design teacher on my tendency to use what he referred to as “nightclub colors”, I decided to tone it down.

Marie Antoinette Final-01

The final draft uses muted colors and soft blues to portray the decadence of the Rococo era. If this was strictly historically accurate instead of stylized, the dress would be overloaded with ruffles, jewels, ribbons, and other decorative embellishments. Her hair would be piled high with feathers and jewels, and in some cases, birds or ships! But as a revamped illustration, I’m pleased with how far I’ve come and how far I will continue to go. Thanks again for following this blog and supporting my artistic journey!


Personal Projects

Customized Star Wars Illustration

Vector illustration has been my first love ever since I started creating illustrations using the Shapes tool in Microsoft Word at the age of ten. Likewise, Star Wars has been my first love ever since my father first introduced me to it as soon as I was old enough to comprehend it. For years, I tried to drag one of my best friends headlong into my “obsession” with me, but she just wasn’t interested until the release of Episode 7: The Force Awakens. Suddenly, she couldn’t be happier to discuss Star Wars with me, and we started playing around with the idea of creating our Jedi alter egos as a personal artistic project. With the help of a Star Wars name generator, we came up with our personas: Gage Sicosta for her, and Lex Desthei for me. It was an interesting design challenge, as well as a fun project to turn to when I was feeling bogged down by my schoolwork. So, when I asked her what she wanted for her Christmas present (crossing my fingers that it wouldn’t be expensive), she told me that she wanted a full-size poster of her Star Wars character. Challenge accepted.

I began by turning to my sketchbook one Sunday in November. I already had a design for Gage Sicosta that I was happy with, but I wanted to pull from that to create the imposing Jedi that my friend had in mind. I went through several iterations of the pose and a few ruined sketchbook pages before coming up with two drafts, and then went to work. After importing the pictures of the sketches into Adobe Illustrator, I began outlining the shapes with the pen tool. I mainly use the Curvature Tool to create my illustrations, but on occasion I will outline the shapes I want with the Brush Tool, use Path > Outline Stroke, and then convert the lines into actual shapes to come up with the precise shape I want.

gage-in-progress-01At this point, I was still working on the illustration from my computer at work. I sent this hastily cobbled together draft to my friend to prove that I was indeed working on her present. At that point, she assumed the worst, accusing me of coming up with a color palette more suited to a Luc Besson movie than Star Wars. It was not, however, the final color palette.

gage-in-progress2-01The second draft was recolored to avoid the same kind of assumptions. At this point, the lightsaber was not finished, but the rest of the draft was close to completion. The reception was much more positive the second time around, and I was almost ready to finish the lightsaber and begin the coloring process. The lightsaber took a few days to finish, since I had to gather inspiration from custom lightsaber builds around the internet and design her own lightsaber for her. The amount of detail in the lightsaber is hard to see, but it consequently took much more time than the rest of the project.

gage-in-progress3-01After the lightsaber was finished and colored according to my friend’s request, I started working on the background. I used the font “Capitol” from Adobe Typekit to emulate the Star Wars aesthetic without being too on-the-nose (something surprisingly hard to do when working in the Star Wars universe).



The final draft was completed using Blending Modes and Outer and Inner Glow to create an otherworldly effect. I used the skills learned while creating my gig poster project to add these effects, and it made the whole project look much more cohesive and polished than it did in the last draft.

The finished poster was sent off to my friend about a week before Christmas, and she loved it! It was an excellent exercise of my vector illustration skills, and it was fun to indulge in a personal project rather than a school assignment. I plan to continue the series in my spare time and come up with an illustration for my own character, but in the meantime, if you’re interested in seeing yourself as a Star Wars character, feel free to contact me!


Vector Graphics

7 Reasons to Make Art Editorial Illustration

An editorial illustration is meant to accompany an article and give the ideas in that article a visual. For this project, I used this article, and focused on the ideas that art is a means of coping, or of comfort.


Sketching the idea was my favorite part of that project. I knew I wanted to incorporate the ideas of mental aid and comfort into this illustration, so I played with that idea. The second round of sketches was an attempt to create characters for this illustration. I wanted to personify the idea of a drawing, of a creation.


Editorial Draft-01

The first draft was a fair attempt, but I received feedback from my professor and my peers that the poses were too stiff, and that it looked creepy rather than comforting. The form of the drawing was also too hard to follow, and I wanted to create a better visualization.

Editorial Draft.2-01The second draft was much better/. I fixed the pen and the pose, and then created more value comps to try and find better colors for the illustration.


Naomi Bastian Editorial Illustration-01

The final draft included what I wanted from this project. I wanted a fanciful, fantastic illustration that would capture how art feels to me, how art can affect us. The article is all about the benefits of art, and I wanted to visualize that. Creating this piece allowed me to experience some of the benefits listed in the article, and I hope that it will inspire others to create as well!


Vector Graphics

Cosmic Pinball Gig Poster

A gig poster is a means for advertising a concert or show in one specific location. The poster is supposed to reflect the feel and sound of the music in a visual format, and gig posters are as vast and diverse as music itself is. For this project, I was inspired by the music of Anamanaguchi, Approaching Nirvana, and Chill Harris (formerly Kill Paris). I knew I wanted to create a poster for electronic/chiptune music, something that sounded heady and celestial. So my first step was to try to describe the music in more visual terms. In conversations with the friend who first introduced me to this genre, I started to come up with ideas.

Here’s a look at the notes I generated:


After coming up with some ideas for what I wanted, it was time to turn to the drawing board. I chose the band name “Cosmic Pinball” after reflecting on this list and deciding that it was an excellent name for a chiptune-based electronic music group.

Sifting Through Ideas



Since I had so many ideas, most of them centering around a first person platformer game, I had to find out how visually feasible they would be. I had just bought a new Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, and I was trying to draw fast and loose to attempt to sketch intuitively. I wasn’t terribly inspired by any of the concepts that I had come up with, except for one. On the second page of my sketches, I had doodled an alien-looking woman with strange clothing and masses of hair. Her eyes were inspired by the artwork in Lady of the Shard by Gigi DG, and I found myself drawn to her and the aesthetic she represented. In conversation with the same friend that had introduced me to this genre of music, we had been discussing the 1968 film Barbarella and the unique aesthetic associated with it. This woman I had drawn represented a little of this 1960’s space age aesthetic, and I wanted to continue perfecting her. So, I basically abandoned my other ideas and took this sketch into Illustrator.

Illustrating Concepts

My first alien woman was based directly off of the sketch I had already done. While creating the illustrations, I colored the different segments of the costume randomly before deciding that I actually liked the high contrast in the colors and the values! These specific illustrations were inspired by a variety of 1960’s space age references, from science fiction pulp novel covers, older science fiction movies (like Barbarella), the original Star Trek series, and 1960’s fashion.

Most of the references I found were either hideously dated, sexist and objectifying, or just plain ridiculous. But overall, I tried to emulate the general aesthetic while also bringing it towards the future.

The Initial Draft

The first draft was flatly colored, and at this point, I was looking for preferences on which alien woman they preferred for the final version. After the work I had put in to create these two different women, I was having trouble deciding which one I preferred. After some feedback from my classmates, I decided to change the color scheme of the first woman and use that as the final design. I also received some feedback from my instructor, who suggested that I recess the buildings to make alleyways and increase depth. He also suggested that I desaturate the buildings as they got farther away, placing warmer and brighter colors towards the front and darker and cooler colors towards the back. He wanted me to play with perspective and put more thought into where the buildings hit her, to not hide her hands with text, and to add more squish to her wrists. Other than that, I was free to proceed as planned.

Gig Poster Draft 2

With the recolored version of the first draft in hand, I set off to edit the colors and positions of the buildings.

Using Adobe Photoshop, I created two different value comps to see what colors and values I needed to fix. I wanted to lighten her skin a little to offer better contrast without completely destroying her skintone, and I also needed to fix the arrangement of the colors in the buildings.

The six different illustrations are all of the different arrangements, sizes, and perspectives for the buildings that I tried. I eventually decided on the one in the middle of the second row, because I liked the extra negative space around her head so much. The new colors followed a much better procession from warm and bright to dark and cool, and arranging the buildings differently gave them more depth and dimension.

To more accurately represent the translucent, colorful nature of a galactic background, I started experimenting with blending modes. From there, I wanted to mess with blending modes on the buildings and on the alien woman, to add a more dreamlike feel.

This process was not easy, and it took two full days to a. figure out how the blending modes worked and b. figure out what I wanted from the blending modes. The first image was an experiment with creating a better galactic background. After applying the same effects to the other elements of the poster, I came up with the second image. It looked cool, but it definitely wasn’t what I wanted. The third image came about after a solid three hours of layering, messing with blending modes and colors, and several failed attempts at working with something else. For the fourth image, I tried adding a solid background to the alien woman’s body and clothing, and it worked much better. I wanted the stars to shine through her hair, but having the buildings be visible through her body was not what I had in mind. The fifth image was the closest to what I wanted, as far as the colors and the transparencies. After that, I recalled that another classmate had used the Inner Glow effects really well, and I wanted to try that. The sixth image includes my attempt at Inner Glow and Outer Glow, to make the poster look almost like neon lighting. I loved the effect that it gave, but I needed to tone it down more. I posted the last image to the class Facebook group to gather feedback, and realized I had some other things I wanted to fix before the final draft.

The Final Draft


After receiving feedback from my peers, I decided to keep the gloves and remove the robot arm. It was creating confusion and gaps of color, so I chose to remove it. I increased the saturation of her costume to make it more visible, brightened the buildings, toned down the glow on the stars, and recolored her eyes and lips.

This poster perfectly reflects how I think the music of Cosmic Pinball would feel. It would feel celestial, psychedelic, a little sultry, but ultimately it should make you think of stars, galaxies, and extraterrestrials. This poster is attention-grabbing and gorgeous. The glowing effect is reminiscent of Vegas neon lights, and the galactic background adds to the dreamlike surroundings. If you listen to specific tracks by Chill Harris and Anamanaguchi, specifically Slap Me, U n Me, Endless Fantasy, The Walk, or To a New Earth, this poster should make perfect sense to you. When I listen to that kind of music, this is what I see. I hope that this poster enables you to see it too.

Vector Graphics

Photorealistic Timepiece

This project was my Vector Graphics trial by fire. Creating things in a photorealistic manner does not come naturally to me, especially when it comes to vector illustration. To imbue my watch with more personal meaning, I wanted to create a photorealistic representation of one of my own timepieces. I was torn between recreating a Westclox Baby Ben clock, or my own watch that I’ve worn for years. I wanted something that was intricate, classic, and interesting, where I could add small details.

The Sketching Process


The sketching process involved trying to take apart some of the smaller details in these timepieces. I wanted a good sketch so that I could get a feel for the overall shape, but then I wanted to analyze the most interesting parts to find out what I specifically liked about each of these timepieces. Although I’m sure I could have done something with digital, stylized watches, I wanted to do something that I liked. Since I’ve been wearing the watch I chose on my wrist for years now, I figured I had already found a style that I did like. I love the tiny facets on the watch, the structure of the band, and the detail on the watchface itself, so my next step was to try to recreate it to the best of my ability.

Taking it to Illustrator

Basic RGB

The first pass through Illustrator was simply an attempt to recreate the shapes in the watch. I was very happy with how the shapes came out, especially the facets on the watch. I also tried to add shadows on the inside of of the watch to show the structure of the watchface. Brother Kerr liked the shape of it, especially the dials on the side, but was concerned about the facets. Apparently, they looked too much like linework, which was something I desperately needed to fix. I also needed to add more detail to the glass, adding more highlights and reflection. Obviously, no gradient work had been done yet, which was something that had to happen before the final draft.


Watch Draft

The second draft was much closer to what I was envisioning. The watchface was effectively finished, and the addition of highlights and detail to the glass were making a difference. However, I needed to fix the watchband to make it more accurate, and the facets still needed gradient work to show the light reflecting off of them. I also wanted to add more reflection on the inside of the watchface. I loved how the gradients on the main part of the watch were working, as well as the added shadows on the watchface. But it was clear I still had more work to do.


And here is the finished product!

For the background, I added a glowing effect to offset the watch design. I edited the facets to make them better reflect the light and fixed the watchband. I used photo references and the actual watch at hand to make it as realistic as possible. I did make some changes based on other watch references I had, but overall I think that it fulfills the requirement to create a detailed and realistic timepiece. I used gradients, layers, and transparencies to create a gleaming, metallic watch and I am very proud of my work.