A Kind of Self-Portrait

This project began as a designer profile at my job at Schurz Communications Inc. My intent and vision was to create a very personal piece that was more a work of art than a corporate (albeit creative) profile. I reached into my past, remembering both my favorite childhood beverage (an orange flavored carbonated drink called Mirinda) and my childhood best friend named after said beverage. The setting is what my family’s Sunday place of worship was then, the beach on the southern Pacific shores of Mexico, near Acapulco.

Tú eres el mar que canta,

You are the singing sea,

Tú eres el sol que brilla,

You are the shining sun,

En la playa más linda.

On the loveliest beach.

Nadie Es Como Tu

The setting and subject were partly inspired by a song performed by the late Rocío Dúrcal, written and produced by Mexican singer/songwriter Juan Gabriel. The song "Nadie Es Como Tu" (roughtly No-one Like You) is an upbeat love song with a mariachi accompaniment.


This project began quite humbly on a Strathmore 400 Series sketchpad that I acquired at Michael’s on a 2-for-1 sale. I drew it using my tool of preference, a Zebra M-301 5mm mechanical pencil (pictured way above). The composition with college ruled notebook paper is only for illustrative purposes. The art style is inspired by Japanese animation, particularly Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbor Totoro. The finished sketch was scanned on a HP multifunction printer/copier/scanner straight into Photoshop where the black levels were adjusted in preparation for tracing in Illustrator. In Illustrator, I faithfully recreated each line and shape, making adjustments and refinements here and there. After completing the tracing, I defined shapes for shadows and highlights and moved onto defining a color palette and finally coloring. The final artwork is a resolution independent piece.


There are two final versions of this project. The first version, titled Mirinda, was for my profile at Schurz Communications Inc. It is the version you see in the section above. This composition uses a photo of a beach as the background, with my artwork layered on top of it and with typography on the top third of the canvas above the clouds. The image is feathered to evoke the feeling of a fading memory.

La Playa

The second version of this project is titled La Playa (The Beach). For this composition, I redrew the photo of the beach using vectors, mostly with the pen tool in Illustrator. The final piece takes on the form of a still image from a traditionally animated film. This second version was printed as an 11″ x 17″ poster.