Sai Kung Magazine August 2017 Issue + Process
A few months ago I got the exciting opportunity to illustrate the cover of the August 2017 issue of Sai Kung & Clearwater Bay Magazine, a family-oriented lifestyle publication based in Hong Kong. The topic of this issue was "Readers' Choice Awards," and since I have lived in Sai Kung for basically all of my life, I felt that this particular subject matter was close to my heart.  
Inspiration
Sai Kung (西貢), known as the "Backyard of Hong Kong," is popular for its beaches, hiking trails, country parks & camping sites. Some families opt to live here due to its spaciousness and the proximity to nature. At the heart of it is Sai Kung Town, a lightly urbanised, former fishing village with an overall relaxed and pet-friendly vibe. It is not uncommon to see a herd of cattle taking a stroll along the main road, or you know, sleeping on it. On weekends it can get quite hectic, as many city dwellers visit to taste the local seafood, take their mini poodles on a walk along the waterfront, or take a sampan to one of the nearby outlying islands.  
Concept & Sketches
Though it can be nice to be given total creative freedom, I always like to ask the art directors I'm working with about the visions they have for the artwork – that narrows down the scope and makes it easier to come up with an idea that both/all of us will like. For this project, the art directors suggested an image centred around the theme of "awards," i.e. including medals and trophies. Before I do any comping, I normally like to take a pen and just draw any ideas I have. It might be kind of long-winded, but in this way I find I don't get restricted by the pressure to make the "perfect" layout straight away, and I get to explore the subject matter at hand. 
Once I decided on the elements I liked, I came up with different ways to combine them, resulting in 3 different compositions: a collage theme, a trophies & medals theme, and lastly, a mix of the previous two, but overlaid on an abstract map of Sai Kung. The art directors chose the final composition. 
Refined Chosen Comp
Colouring
Midway through this stage, I realised that I did not like the colour scheme – too bright, too saturated, and not enough contrast between the colour values. I fixed this by desaturating the colours, especially the green in the background. Once that was done, I took a few of the line work elements and made them either white, red, or purple, for some variation. Then I added some texture and halftone "shadows" for a more human touch.
Adjustments
One thing I learnt from this project is that you have to be prepared – and brave – when asked to make changes (within reason, of course). The art director and design team of the magazine felt that the centre piece of the artwork (the Reader's Choice Awards emblem) wasn't standing out enough and asked me to make it bigger. They sent me the above comps to show what they meant.
Adjusted Design
Adjustments #2
After receiving test copies, the design team still felt that the centre piece was not standing out enough. They wanted me to enlarge it by a significant amount, which meant removing some of the surrounding elements (which I personally really liked), to add a glow behind the centre piece, and also to change the roads on the map to grey. Again I had to be brave and not take anything to heart, but at the same time I understood because by enlarging the centre piece, the issue theme became a lot clearer – and that is the most important part. In hindsight I probably should have made test prints and adjusted the composition from the very start. Oh Well! I know for next time... 
Final Design after Adjustment
Final Artwork in Print
You can read the issue here.
Art direction by Eric Ho & Annie Wong. 
All images © Kat J. Weiss 2014 - 2015. Do not reproduce without 
the expressed written consent of Kat J. Weiss.

Sai Kung Magazine August 2017 Issue + Process
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Sai Kung Magazine August 2017 Issue + Process

Cover Illustration for the August 2017 issue Sai Kung Magazine: Readers' Choice Awards.
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Published:

Tools

Adobe Photoshop

Creative Fields

Copyright Info

Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives

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