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.

Screen-Shot-2013-12-20-at-12.21.33-AM

Screen-Shot-2013-12-20-at-12.23.50-AM

 

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

test

and here are the colors

Yesterday I said I would go more in depth into the colors, especially of the lines, but I realized after I posted that that I couldn’t really show how or why I colored the lines the way I did until I showed ALL of the color work… right. So here she is, all done except for a few little tweaks I still need to make.

Tail_Art2_3

So tomorrow I’ll actually explain a bit more about the line coloring.

 

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…

Folly Preview

I don’t remember if I mentioned this here or not… I was accepted, as of the new year, as a new member of the group Girls Drawin Girls! They’re an amazingly talented group of women with gorgeous work and some very impressive resumes. I’m still trying to get over the intimidation o_o

So here’s a preview of my latest piece. If you’d like to see the rest of it, check it out on the GDG Blog.

FollyPreview

 

Seahorse Mermaid

As of the 2013 year I was accepted into a group called Girls Drawing Girls, and while it was discontinued for a while they’ve started doing Weekly Themes again. This week’s theme was Mermaids! I’ve been reading Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and just happened to stumble across the History Channel’s documentary about the first footage of Giant Squid…! That, and having just finished up my sea-themed mural… I’ve got oceans on the brain, so this just happened to be the perfect theme.

My first thought was to do a cute retro style pin up mermaid, like the ones in Disney’s Peter Pan. I love how they look (and I may still draw one…) but then I read another chapter of my book and they were talking about the deep deep sea and bio luminescence. I started thinking of a creature that could live in the deep lightless ocean, rather than a bright happy lagoon. And suddenly she went technicolor!!

Mermaid

 

I was going to give her bright blue eyes to match her fins… but she looked so sweet. With the yellow eyes she looked just a bit more predatory. Like she’s cute… but she might bite your arm off.

Mermaid2

Bundle

I found a fun new freeware application that I wanted to test out. The line work on this went by almost twice as fast as it normally would have taken me.

Bundle

 

It’s not very obvious, but I was trying out a really different technique with this image that I’m pretty excited about. If you look closely at her face you’ll notice that there’s a little bit of “painting” going on. I’ve talked a lot lately about improving my digital painting and mixing it in with my typically very flat character work. This is definitely the first successful attempt to do that. That said, the texture I used was a disaster. Lesson learned: pay attention to the close up details of new textures before getting hours into an image… The texture is out of focus and will now drive me absolutely crazy every time I see this image. God damn it. >_>

Oh! And I made a nice little signature brush too, so I can slap a neat little “MegK” onto new pieces now.

So I added to that mural a bit…

Over the summer I was practicing on the wall next to my house. It was a LOT harder than I had anticipated. The wall sucked up the paint and was so uneven it was tough to cover (that, and it was SUPER hot out). What should have been a quick paint ended up taking me days! I had to change the design up a bit to work and it turned out like this

21

But I was never happy with it….. so I finally got fed up and added a little to spruce it up a bit lol

2012-07-19-23.38.32

Yah, that’s an octopus on her face. (the chicken approved.)