Making a Mural

To create a successful mural, you have to balance what your client wants with your own artistic vision.


This mural was for a nursery and the clients wanted a woodsy/outdoor/mountain feel for the room. I sketched out a few ideas to narrow the focus: style, colors, level of detail. The options ranged from simplistic mountain shapes to more realistic depictions, but kept within the same color pallet of cool blues and greens. The realistic sketch emphasizing the mountainside with trees was the favorite.



I referenced vintage travel posters, wanting sharp outlines and big blocks of color that would lend itself to easier painting, and that would of course be fun visually for a young child's room.


Vintage travel poster inspiration images

When doing the final layout, be mindful of how the clients will use the room, and if and where furniture will be placed against the mural wall. I painted two groups of trees, one for each side of where the crib would be placed, to make it feel inclusive. The trees on the right weren't in the original plan, but it was a small addition that made a significant impact.

Paying attention to details makes the biggest difference.


However, some things don't work out according to plan. It's best to recognize what just doesn't fit, correct it, and move on. For instance, my client chose fun bright orange accessories for the room, so I thought of incorporating orange into the mural, but the color and technique I used (sponged paint onto the mountain) simply didn't work; it was too textural, too distracting from the overall look.


As an artist, you always want to be proud of what you create, and it's always the best feeling when the people you create for are just as delighted with the finished piece.




© 2020 by Kelly McCollum