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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The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread…

…and it’s a weird looking two-finger glove. No joke.

sg2_big

I’ve been using my pen tablet (a wacom PTZ-930) for about six years, it’s old and beat up but works like a charm. It was time for an upgrade though so I took the tablet-monitor leap with the new Monoprice 19″. I only just got it, so it’s still too soon to give any kind of review, but what I can review is the little accessory I bought for it and it’s awesome.

It’s called a Smudge Guard. I had heard of it before but I didn’t think it would be worth the price since I never really had too much trouble, not to mention I had the desktop to monitor tablet so I didn’t have to worry about messing up my visual space. I was so so wrong.

I’ve had it for about two months now (I ordered it as soon as I found out about the Monoprice) and I wear it for 90% of my work day now. It was a little odd at first, but after a day or two I stopped noticing it on. It breaths and the material is really comfortable, but more than that it really works. I never really noticed how smeary and sweaty my hand got after drawing for a few hours… sorry that’s gross, but it’s true. After a month of working with the Smudge Guard on my hand I honestly can’t work without it. It feels weird. It has become an absolute must for my work space.

I’m raving about this thing right now, but I’m honestly considering buying another just in case something happens to my first one. I love it so much o_o

If you work with a tablet, go get one.

www.smudgeguard.com

EDIT: woops, the link wasn’t woking for some reason, it should be fine now.

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

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…

Commish w.i.p.

Working on something a bit different today! I’m just finishing up the hard lines on a commission for a friend of mine. She’ll be a sci-fi half-mech bad ass when she’s done.

Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 3.21.27 PM

It’s aaaall about the details

Working up the inks for these Ladies of Lit and I’m focusing on putting tons of little unique details into each one… Mulan just haaad to have scaled armor @_@

Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 5.40.42 PM

 

I already have four inks done! Mulan will be the fifth. These are flying by, but that might have something to do with the fact that I’ve been doing all of my favorites first… I’m going to hit a bump soon, I’m braced for it. The good thing is I have plenty of projects going on right now to keep me busy. If I get stuck on one, I just move on to the next until I can come back to it with a fresh eye.

Between commissions to keep me from going completely broke, this Ladies of Lit project, my art book printing/preorders and moving to a different country next month… I’m a little on the busy side. But it’s Good busy, not Tear Your Hair Out busy, so there’s that.

Anybody know a nice place for rent in the Portland area..? x|

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.