A Midsummer’s Nightcap


This week’s Illustration Friday topic is Midsummer Night. When I heard that I immediately thought about sipping cocktails on a hot summer night. Since it’s so hot and humid out I wanted something steamy.

My original thought was a pool party. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel that last week’s cocktail party illustration was all that successful. It felt like there was too much going on. So I decided to make this one more intimate, just two figures and a diving board.

Color Palette

At first I wanted the girl sitting on the diving board and the guy coming out of the water, but I couldn’t get them to work right together. Plus I tend to have issues with perspective when I don’t have a good reference to look at. I guess that’s why the old masters used models; Picasso was a lucky guy, and from what I hear in more ways than one.


The other issue was that the guy would have to be turned away from us and I really wanted to see his face. I decided to forget the perspective and slap the two together on the same visual plane.

Although the composition may not be that dynamic, I like the implications of having them so close. It feels dirtier and they can both enjoy their drinks. It also made the space they take up more compact, there isn’t so much white space that it makes everything feel disjointed.

First Draft

One thing I did have some trouble with was the background. I come from a sculpture background, so I tend to think in objects instead of depicting a whole environment. It’s usually the thing I throw in last. Since I wanted to focus so much on this pair I was just going to drop them into a blue background and call it a day, but it felt too empty. Then I tried this hideous moon thing, needless to say things were going down a very dire path. Finally I realized these two had a story, and that story helped to develop the final design.

The thing I really liked about this particular pair was that they weren’t an illustration equivalent of supermodels. They’re a little sloppy, she’s showing off their rolls and he’s in serious plumber’s crack territory. That sloppiness feels right for a drunken night at a hotel pool. Just picture the two of them meeting in a smoky bar, coming back to the hotel for a late night dip and a one night stand. I think the overall feel is just wonderful.