colorful underwater scene drawn by Yellena James in Adobe Fresco colorful underwater scene drawn by Yellena James in Adobe Fresco

Drawn to Dream

By Create staff

What if you could recapture the artistic freedom you enjoyed when you were younger? That was the challenge Adobe gave three talented artists. Watch the videos below to see how they recreated art from their past using Adobe Fresco, a new mobile drawing and painting app. Then download Fresco and check out the easy-to-follow tutorial videos. If you’re inspired to revisit your own childhood art, let us know by posting it on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #recreatewithFresco.

Yellena James

Click Yellena's artwork above to watch her video profile.

Pascal Campion

Click Pascal's artwork above to watch his video profile.

Kervin Brisseaux

Click Kervin's artwork above to watch Kervin's video profile.

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Try Two Fresco Techniques

Art without Expectations

“Drawing is a form of communication that we learn very young—we come to it through play. It's often the first way we express ourselves creatively. It's so powerful—we should all believe we can draw like that forever,” says Adobe creative director Brian Yap. But as adults, it can be difficult to just draw for the sake of drawing. Our time becomes almost too precious for play.

Yap has created everything from interactive posters to ad campaigns using Adobe's mobile drawing and painting apps, so when Adobe started working on a new mobile illustration app, he was a natural alpha tester. The app—codenamed Project Gemini, and now officially known as Adobe Fresco—has a host of cool features and capabilities: live brushes, real-world reactions and pigments, fresh workflows, and more. "It's fun to use," says Yap. "It’s as fun as when you’d draw and paint when you were younger, but as useful as you need when you draw as a professional."

The combination of playful and professional is rare. To demonstrate its power, Adobe asked three artists with diverse styles to visually reimagine drawings from their youth. They were encouraged to reach back into that time in their lives when the act of art was without rules or expectations.

The brief was straightforward—take an illustration from when you were younger and update it using Adobe Fresco—and deliberately without any additional constraints or expectations. "There were a million questions about rules," says Yap, "like, 'What age does the drawing have to be from?' Answer: It doesn't matter as long as it was a time when you drew more for fun than anything else.” Ultimately, each artist embraced the open-endedness of the assignment.

The Artists

Yellena James (born in Sarajevo and now based in Portland, Oregon) was the mobile newbie. She primarily works with watercolors and inks on paper or wood and had never drawn on an iPad before Adobe approached her. Would an artist who doesn't even use a tablet be able to jump right in and create? New Yorker Kervin Brisseaux was the digital savant, very familiar with drawing on a tablet. What would he think about the evolution of a tool he’s accustomed to? Pascal Campion out of Los Angeles, who has a fast, loose, and emotive style, normally paints in Photoshop. What would he make of the new app and format?

Creative projects can be effective catalysts, and in this case, they offered the artists a chance to reflect on their past, celebrate their present, and learn skills for the future. Through the process, all three said they immediately felt comfortable using the app, despite their different starting points with the technologies. They also discovered different ways to connect with their younger selves.

Yellena James found a relationship between her interest in nature then, and the abstract, organic vibes she favors today. When asked why he gave his grandfather a hat and sharp jacket in the earlier portrait, Kervin Brisseaux replied, “I gave everyone a hat back then. I just wanted to add some style.” It's a sentiment that's consistent with his bold, fashion-forward compositions today. And Pascal Campion was able to pack an entire narrative into a single frame, detail by thoughtful detail, both when he was young and even more so now.

Seeing how these artists took the brief and went wild with it was gratifying, and it will be exciting to see how the community will respond with their own #frescocreate creations. “As adults, it’s easy to get locked into the ‘importance’ of everything we do,” Brian Yap says. “The last thing you want a creative tool to do is get in the way of an artist’s process and joy. Fresco is so quick and intuitive and blurs the lines between digital and traditional. It creates more freedom to explore, and I think you can see that in these pieces, both in the techniques and the stories behind them."

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