Cincinnati Opera graphic designer and illustrator Aimee Martini sees the beauty and magic of each opera. Since 2001, Martini has been sharing that in her production posters.

A College of Mount St. Joseph graduate, Martini worked as a medical illustrator and graphic designer at the MRI Education Foundation, which gave her a background in the airbrushing technique that defines her style.

"Every opera has a story and I go into it thinking whether I want to capture the story of the opera or something they sing about," she says. "I stick with the style the opera has, then I combine airbrushing with photography."

Each of Martini's works are compilations of about 20 different photographs pieced together, then airbrushed and blended to "make them softer." For example, for the "La Traviata" poster for this season (featured on page 9), Martini explores the woman's personality by compiling about 15 different photos. The result? "The character of Violetta is beautiful and lives in opulence, which I expressed through the chandelier and her party gown," she says.

Sometimes, Martini will shoot original photos to work with "just the right curve of a hand or a curl of a smile" before she merges the photographs to create the image's foundation.

This season, Martini also designed posters for "Pagliacci, Gianni Schicchi" and "Porgy and Bess," which run in June and July.

Her all-time favorite?

"A Flowering Tree" created for the 2011 season. The love story set in southern India is expressed by merging the woman's black hair into parts of a tree, accented by bright red and yellow flowers.

The piece was also accepted into Cincinnati's Art Comes Alive 2012 competition.