An illustration for the Washington Post about the Smithsonian Folklife Festival! Each year they feature two countries, and this year it was Kenya and China!
The AD wanted the illustration to capture the spirit of the festival and highlight the crafts, food, and music of both countries. I played around with a few different variations, but In the end we decided that the thumbnail image showing the two characters was the best solution. We ended up changing the Kenyan lady’s clothing to traditional Maasaii dress for the final, which I had a blast researching. It was a fun challenge to render the explosion of cultural elements in the background without pulling too much focus away from the characters.
I usually work in gouache, but with such a tight deadline, I had to step a little bit out of my comfort-zone and do this image 100% digitally. I’m really happy with the results! Might consider switching it up more in the future.
A big thanks to Allison Ghaman!