Visual Distinction

Some ideas tickle. They can be sneaky—never going away, never really coming out in the open. Some like to play hide and seek. And some start a journey by dropping continual clues. The ones that see the light and then go underground for a while may be the most powerful of all. (I put my favorite landscapes in my portfolio.)

#9-chris beach-cool-sz

Early in my career, I was fascinated with the idea of going from day to night in one image—not in the juxtaposition of Magritte, but as a transition. as with all my ideas, I grabbed my colored pencils and spent thirty hours drawing a detailed skyline of chicago—very horizontal—that captured the rose of the early dawn, clarity of midday, and mystery of dusk. the night buildings twinkled and the sun cast shakoes and highlights. The drawing was lost in a move, but the image stays pictured in my mind whenever I see the skyline from Shedd Aquarium, I see that drawing superimposed on rarity.

#9-chris beaches-colors-sz

Now, with a virtual palette of form and lighting, that drawing is the inspiration for may current series of illustrations. Instead of colored pencil delicately layering, I find the colors in the landscapes I choose to embellish.

1. Finding or setting up a location that has potential is determined by contrast. There is a defined horizon, simple foreground, lighting source, and personality. This beach image is used as a background in Sim Street Journal #9.

2. Keeping my virtual camera in one position, I make sky settings—set up a dawn, midday, dusk—particularly the hours the sun is low. Often I choose a foggy atmosphere, or I choose the blackness of midnight. I consider mostly the transitional photos.

#9-chris beaches-neutrals-sz

3. Editing into a sequence begins with the light source image. Unlike the drawing, I want the divisions between (vertical stripes) to be noticed—some contrast between each. This sets up a motion between them, almost like a deconstructed video, giving a sense of time passing.

4. The chosen images are taken apart into components and analyzed for color and time of day. Layering them on top of one another, I chose the “ground,” middle ground, and sky into balance. I want a smooth transition, but also with the snap-shot feeling going from one to another. Often I choose by warm/neutral/cool colors. Like with this beach, I may try different versions.

#9-chris beaches-reds-sz

5. The aesthetic choices I make along the way always begin when I find a scene. Then it becomes constant series of small choices that feel unconscious.

These images display a visual distinction, and gives consistency to the overall series. They are highly editorial, buy I feel they stand on their own as well.

They set up a visual language—a version of changing reality—all in one spot. Simple, yet complex, they show you as much as you wish to feel. They set up an ambience of time and space highly controlled, highly interpretive, and always immersive. (Please see my portfolio: Landscapes.)

—Always inspired, Liane

#9-chris beaches-warms-sz


Liane Sebastian wears an editor’s hat, designer’s coat, and artist’s shoes.







Sim Street Journal explores the relevance of virtual to real commerce and culture.







About wisdomofwork

I have a passion for publishing: I wear a designer's hat, editor's coat, and publisher's shoes. See more about my work at
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