advanced photoshop

How I Made: Primavera Isle

Posted in:
General, by Rebecca Greig

Carolina Rodriguez Fuenmayor shows how she turned the disappointment of a dropped commission into a haunting and atmospheric work of art

primavera isle

Carolina Rodriguez Fuenmayor initially started work on this image as a poster for an agency, but the commission was called off in the early stages. However, the artist decided to pick up the artwork again and turn it into a creation of her own.

She explains the initial concept and how she progressed it: “The [original] idea was around liberty and fun, Woodstock and music. When [the agency] rejected my work, I decided not to waste it, but to transform it into something else. I wanted to do a really colourful, fairytale atmosphere, like something coming out of a Grimm’s fairytale.”

Fuenmayor starts her images out as a quick sketch, and then in Photoshop the background is painted, first using plain colours or gradients: “I really like gradients; they are not the fanciest thing, but it gives me a nice idea of the palette I could work with.”

She will then draw lines to get the composition right, before cleaning them up and adding colour.

How I Made: Primavera Isle


Initial sketch

“This was the first sketch I sent to the agency – just quick lines. I like red when I’m starting and if there is a sky involved in the image, I love to design the clouds first.”



RevisionsHow I Made: Primavera Isle

“They didn’t like it; they wanted a central piece with the air balloon in the middle. At this point I was kinda angry, so I decided to do a sketch they couldn’t reject with clean lines and a brighter palette.”

 How I Made: Primavera Isle


Change of plan

“They liked it, so I started playing with colours, a basic palette, no detail – just trying to get my eyes used to these combinations. [However, the commission was called off.]”



RestartHow I Made: Primavera Isle

“I saved the project away for about two months. One day I was bored and I didn’t want to start anything new, so I grabbed it again, with a plain colour on the background and different lines.”


 How I Made: Primavera IsleColouring in

“I started with blue and purple, and from there I almost painted everything on the same layer real fast. I kept the line, but it wasn’t working at that moment so I kept it hidden.”



ConceptHow I Made: Primavera Isle

“I knew that I wanted people walking to an unknown place and I knew that the main character was late. It was [about] just getting out the woods and going for freedom, or something like that…”


How I Made: Primavera IsleMain character 

“The main character is actually just a shape without shadows or light spots. I have problems using light sources, so what I do is to use light wherever I want! I also added some dust.”



Final lines

“I had my lines, but they weren’t working. I started playing around with the Hue dialog and for some reason I set the light to maximum. I did some adjustments with Color Balance to finish.”

 How I Made: Primavera Isle

How I Made: Primavera IsleColour inspiration

Fuenmayor tells us how she uses colour palettes from other images to inspire her work

“Search for images you like and use their palettes. There are so many colour combinations that sometimes you don’t know how to use them. I often start with the palette of another image and while working, I start to make changes. Sometimes they end up being completely different from the initial colours, but it makes my workflow easier.”