Designing Digging Into Django

in Design

Are you ready to search for more treasures with Django? The theme for our upcoming Django course, Digging Into Django, plays off of the Indiana Jones movies, where adventure and treasures await in the jungle.

For the Digging Into Django theme, I tried to be little more intentional with my approach and really sketch out how I wanted things to look. I used a mix of Photoshop, Illustrator, and the Procreate app for the final product.

Sketch of a temple with “Digging Into Django” overlaid

Even the final-ish sketch above contains different ideas that are layered upon one another — and it took many iterations to get to that point. Using the Procreate app on the iPad, I sketched out the very basics. I wanted the temple as a focal point in the background, and I wanted something in the foreground. And golden monkeys. I definitely needed golden monkeys.

Sketch of a temple

To get the lighting right, I roughed out some values of light and dark.

Sketch with a darkened foreground

In the foreground, there are just three basic plant shapes scaled and rotated in different directions.

These plants:

Palm tree branches

Branches creating a picture frame

I arranged them so they would frame the center, and then I added in orange highlights on the interior edges and shadows where needed.

Next came the pillars, which were drawn out in Procreate and cleaned up in Photoshop.

Stone wall

Then I added in a temple drawn from El Castillo in Chichen Itza.


And last, but certainly not least, a few golden monkeys.

Golden monkeys

And now we have the final image used for the title card.

Digging into Django

One of my favorite features of Procreate is that it can record every move you make and, at any point, you can export a video of your process on a particular image. This is just one of the files I had for the course title image. It records everything so you can see the random things I do in the beginning before I get going. I use those hanging plants eventually — just not in the title image. In this particular video, I was tracing over a file I already had to clean up space.

Here, I drew out some symbols on a tablet, created completely within Procreate, for use as a course asset.

Stone tablet drawn on an iPad

Again in Procreate, I imported one of my basic banner layouts to work on the ruins. It was faster for me to draw/paint within the app and then export it to Photoshop to finalize everything.

Ruins drawn on an iPad

This is the final banner from the previous image. Once again in Photoshop, I layered on basic plant shapes to fill out the jungle. Note those hanging plants.

Ruins up close

Digging Into Django was such a fun course to design. I feel I successfully jumped a few of the hurdles I’ve had in previous designs. All it really took was for me to truly be intentional with my process. I’m sure how I work will evolve more, but it was great to see the final product come out as I envisioned. If you like watching artwork progress without anyone talking, I’ve posted some more videos here(vimeo link). After that, make sure to keep an eye out for Digging Into Django, where you’ll learn how to build fully functioning, scalable Django web apps!

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About the Author

Ann Grafelman

I’m a Code School Designer who enjoys creating great visuals. I make a mess for a while then make it nice in the end. That’s how I do it.

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