Process: Photo to Illustration

I had the pleasure of doing a very fun Pin Up commission just recently and I thought it might be fun to show the basic process, step by step.

Unlike many of my commissions, I began right off the bat with a very clear idea of what was wanted since I was to be working from a photograph and the direction of “baking”, so the sketch process was much shorter than normal. Usually I’d play around with several poses and ideas before settling on one or two that I like, but this one came together right away.

So, with permission, here is the photo reference I was sent. It’s been modified to protect the client’s identity, but you can see how I got to the pose in the sketch.

MWPhoto

MW1

The sketch is basically the same as the photo, but with a few liberties taken for the sake of balance and composition. I use photo references often in my work, but it’s always important to remember that photos distort and flatten. If you draw an image directly from a photo, that distortion shows and the drawing will look awkward.

From the sketch I move on to the hard lines, using a simple Hard Round Brush set to pen pressure sensitivity, 10-15px. To make the process easier later on I draw the lines for different pieces of the image on different layers. All lines of skin are on one layer, apron and shoes on another, as well as hair. I knew already that the dress would be transparent, and to create that effect I would need to treat those lines differently, so they are on their own layer as well.

MW2

With the lines approved, I move on to the colors. I won’t go too much into detail with that process for this round, since I don’t have any in-between shots. That and I’ve already mentioned the color process in a few other posts. So I’ll keep it simple, here’s the first draft of the colors.

MW3

Then come a few last tweaks and revisions, and the final version.

MWFinal

Ta-dah! So like I said, this one was a lot of fun. Hopefully I’ll be doing some more of these soon =)

If you’re interested in commissions, you can always contact me for a quote or idea at Kirkpatrickm7@gmail.com

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Liiiiiiines

The last few days I’ve uploaded the w.i.p.s of the pin up I was working on, today I’ll go a little more into how I did the line work for her. To be clear this is all, head to toe, created using Photoshop CS6. First off, brushes! I used only two for this piece. The sketching and hard lines are all created using just the basic preset Hard Round Pressure Size brush with the opacity set to 100% for the final hard lines and somewhere around 30% for sketching. This isn’t a perfect brush but it has worked very nicely for me so far. It feels closest to a pen to me which is always my preference.

I won’t go into much detail on the second brush since the interior coloring, but it is a pretty fun custom brush I created for myself using clouds. It has a nice soft quality but leaves some of that fun texture.

Now that that’s explained, next up comes the color picking. For my inking I tend to lean towards a soft ruddy black, but if left that way it gives the piece a flat and stark look. That can be a really nice effect, but I wanted to keep this one looking soft. So below are a couple of screen shots showing how I chose the colors, taking from the base skin and hair colors and bringing them down to a much darker color for the lines. Lighter for the skin than the hair to keep it a bit softer.

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Also… Some color tests for her hair. The blonde was a “oooh hell no.”

test

Line work’s all done

So I’ve finished up the line art from yesterday’s sketch, and instead of just showing the final look all together I want to show the way I use layers on line art. I have the line art on four different layers which you can see when I hide them in the screenshots:

Hair –

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 11.49.35 PM

Skin/Body –

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 11.49.39 PM

Swimsuit –

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 11.49.52 PM

Face and extra swimsuit Lines –

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 11.49.55 PM

I do this because of the coloring stage later. It’s not completely necessary, but I’ve found that it helps me be a lot more accurate and efficient when I want to adjust the color of the lines in the coloring stage. Black, or nearly black lines can be nice and crisp, but for this image I wanted a much softer effect so I’ve used darker versions of the colors of each area to ink with (ie: her hair color will be a maroony-red so I used a much dark version of that for the lines of the hair). I’ve actually already adjusted the coloration of the lines above but it will be hard to see until there is full color along with it (which I’ll be posting tomorrow).

I might go more in depth into this tomorrow now that I think about it…

Working on a new project!

I’ve been ignoring my poor blog lately so it’s time for some more updating. I have a new project for the new year!

There is an enormous aviation industry here in Portland both commercial and private, and since I’ve been here I’ve been approached by several private owners to do some nose or tail art for them. One of my biggest inspirations is old school cheesecake Pin Up art, so this is feeling very “full circle” for me! There are a lot of details still to work through, but I’ve already started beefing up my portfolio a bit, so here’s one of the first girls in progress.

Tail_Art2_1

 

I’ll post more of her as I work a bit more.

Fanart aRTD

A Redtail’s Dream. Gorgeous webcomic with a beautiful story! The author/artist is just finishing up her Indiegogo Campaign for the entire comic contained in a single hard cover volume as well as a fanart contest, and I couldn’t resist.

aRTDMegKFanart

Raven Work in Progress 3

Progress 1

Progress 2

Still not quite finished with the inking, but a whole lot closer than before. I’ve filled in a lot of the decorative details in the interior and added some thick dark lines for contrast. On the close up below you can see more of the itty bitty design details, as well as some of the sketch lines. I still haven’t decided what to do with the beak…

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Oh! I haven’t mentioned the background at all. You may have noticed the extremely boring looking circle around his head? While I was moving last month and unpacking all of my supplies I found a package of gold leaf. I’ve been dying to try it out, so it’s going to be a little bit of an experiment (I’ll be sweating bullets hoping I don’t mess the whole thing up…). The circle around his head and his eye will both be getting the gilding treatment…. we’ll see how it turns out…. fingers crossed….

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Raven Work in Progress 2

Woops, I meant to take more progress photos but I got a little too into the inking and forgot… So here is the basic outline just about completed. There is still a lot of the interior detail to be filled in and the sketch hasn’t been erased at all so it looks pretty messy at this stage. If you look at the picture of the sketch that I posted earlier you’ll see that I changed a few of the details. I started inking the parts that I knew I was happy with first, to see how they looked, then went back into my sketch to adjust the parts I wasn’t happy with. I think I redid the designs in the neck five or six times before I was happy with it.

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I’ve ignored the design on the wings and tail for now. I don’t know how much empty space I want to leave yet, and I won’t be able to get a good idea of that until I’m farther along in the inking. I also have only a vague idea for the background, but that doesn’t have to come until  later.

Raven Work in Progress

I finally have my work table set up after moving, and it’s not 100% yet but usable space again! I decided to take a little time out and do a project for myself (rather than commissioned work) which I haven’t done in a long time. Having done lots of those decorative drawings in my sketchbook lately, I decided I’d like to try a really nice version for myself. I settled on doing a raven, ’cause they’re the coolest ever.

So unlike the ones in my sketchbook, I took the extra step of sketching in pencil first. When I sketch in pen it can get a little messy…

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Oh! And I also started out by drawing a realistic raven from a photo, just to get the form right. I did him on a scrap of tracing paper that I had, then drew an enlarged version onto the bristol. I tweaked the drawing of the full-size version to make it more symmetrical, then started in on the interior details, still in pencil.

Decorative Sketching

There’s just something about the mindlessness of decorative work that I love.

Now, that’s not to say that there isn’t quite a lot of thought going into the work. There needs to be concept, creativity, construction and… composition (that’s a lot of ‘C’s). The piece needs to be not just detailed, but attractive and balanced. However, there is a certain “zen” that goes with the type of concentration involved in the repetitiveness of decorative design. I can lose myself in it for hours, so I use it as a time-sucking tool! When I’m getting ready to go on long flights, part of my packing process is to start the outline idea of one or two decorative sketches. If I’m bored on the plane, there is nothing better than to loose myself in one. Here is one from my latest round trip flight.

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