Introduction: Ten Dozen Hearts in a Bag

This is a drawing I made inspired by the song Outrunning Karma by Alec Benjamin.


I used Photoshop, but you can use any program with layers capabilities.

Step 1: Sketch

In order to figure out what I wanted and where I wanted it, I first sketched out my ideas. Since I was taking inspiration from a song, I wrote down every physical object mentioned (eg: church steeple, bugs and their larva) and I wrote down possible object symbolic of other things (eg: the watchful eye for karma, devil's horns for Satan).

Step 2: Make the Character

Here I went over my sketch with a solid form. I knew what angle I wanted from the sketch layer before, I just had to make it look more like a person. I also added hair at this stage, although I end up changing it later.

Step 3: Start Placing the Background

Here I included things I knew for sure I wanted in the background. The moon was first, and I used a very large circle brush to make one perfectly symmetrical dot, and then I used a clipping mask to put detail inside the moon. I also included the church steeple in this step, which I drew one side of and then mirrored, for symmetry.

Step 4: Start Placing the Foreground

I knew I wanted some things to be on top of my character, so here I experimented with the all seeing eye hovering over his head instead of on top as in the sketch. I also decided on flames to represent Satan rather than devil's horns. I placed rough outlines of bugs on his neck, chin, and collarbone as well.

Step 5: The Hearts

Here I refined the all seeing eye, and changed the hair, and then got to work on the most important part of this project, the hearts. I turned off the bugs and flames layers so I could see uninhibited, and I pulled up a reference photo of an anatomical heart. I then drew the heart, and placed a clipping mask on it for shading. When that was done, I copied it several times and arranged those hearts accordingly.

Step 6: Hearts in a Bag

I covered the hearts with a semi transparent bag, because I wanted to still be able to see them. I added a hand holding the bag, because I didn't want it just floating in the air. I also added a bow and arrow to the background at this point, because of a lyric about Apollo.

Step 7: Check Your Progress

I placed the flames back on top of the hearts and body, to make sure that I still liked them in terms of the image as a whole.

Step 8: Lines

Here I started adding lines to the background, to create the style I wanted. I placed a clipping mask over the church steeple, and did large lines on that, and in the next image you can see that I tested out lines on the hair as well.

Step 9: Lines Everywhere

I decided I liked the look the lines gave me, so I put lines in more places on the image. I also refined the bug shapes based on real bugs I had reference images of. It was easier to see with the flames off, so I turned them off for this step.

Step 10: Finish Up

Here I added the colors to the bugs and turned the flames back on to complete the finished image.

Heart Contest

Participated in the
Heart Contest