While the Wikwemikong Powwow is a real event held annually on Manitoulin Island, the poster is fictional in that the people of Wikwemikong did not ask me to create this—a promotional poster for the 55th gathering in 2015.
Color was the primary element I wanted to express, to capture the bold colors typical of First Nations culture. Beginning the background layer with a photo taken of a carving hanging in a friend’s tree in Prince Edward County, I overlaid the background with a gradient layer to diffuse the photo (to keep everything that would come afterward to the front) and creature a lightly colored texture. Next, I layered a scan of an original freehand graphic over top of the background and set a gradient overlay. Setting a new layer—a transparency of the line drawing—I set various FX (stroke, color overlay, bevel and emboss) in a bid to make the new layer appear more three-dimensional as if it was a carving of some sort. Then I played with layer opacity levels to allow the overall image to be distinct yet not so distinct as to dominate the poster. Finally I layered on text and set the poster headline “Wikwemikong Powwow” with a clipping mask to lend texture.