The Process

April 16, 2007


Here is a illustration i started on earlier this past week. By the image, you should see some of the process i use when i start a illustration. When i work on animals or mech looking things, i like to have a ton of images around of that animal so i can see bone structure, features, and small details on where shadows and light falls. This was actually a painting, but loved the profile. I started to draw some line art on top to see if it would work. So far it looks okay. Once i’m done with rough lines, i hide the image and go in and shadow up the piece, select areas for darks vs. lights, as well as add stuff and build off of the foundation.

I like to use photos to only be a good foundational reference. Besides, i would rather use something that is a photo, than trying to draw it and make it look more cartoony than what it should be. So in the end, don’t be scared to use photo references and trace some structure and get your proportions correct. Use your layers so you can hide the images easy that way you can go in and rock out your own vibe and add color and detail.

Hope this helps, or now you might see that I’m a over-rated hack!


10 Responses to “The Process”

  1. François said

    that’s interesting! Will we see the developement of this illustration in future posts ? I hope so

  2. steve said

    this is sort of how I do my typeface recreations for old albums that we don’t have digital art files for.

  3. Stu said

    I currently us this process however where do you access good reference images – istockphoto (is OK) but do you know better.

    By the way, I love your work!

  4. Chris said

    ever use paper & pencil/pen?

  5. Evan said

    Thanks for taking the time to write such a helpful and informative post. I hope you do more things like this in the future.

  6. hydro74 said

    If i get around to finishing it up. I started it and wasn’t feeling it. seems like it should be more aggressive than passive in the illustration. we’ll see.

    i do a little bit of pencil and pen. I like to actually just have a structure to start with. for example, if i find a bird i really like the style on. I’ll pretty much just illustrate from that reference. I just like to have shapes and structures right so the perspective is more straight on. from there i enjoy adding any emotional and stylistic things to it

  7. It’s a great technique. I’ve use it myself. And sometimes I feel like I’m cheating a bit because I feel I should be able to draw this stuff from scratch.

  8. hydro74 said

    well, technically you are if you put more into it that tracing. i would rather draw in illustrator than actually draw with pen and ink

  9. BTHuman said

    I use this process often too. Do yu use a tablet or just a mouse? I’m wondering too, about your technique for creating the “hair” for your animals and birds.
    I really love everything you do. Very inspiring.


  10. rbell said

    Yeah I would also like to know if you use a tablet to draw your illustrations or do you just use a pen and mouse. I have a hard time getting those perfect precise technical lines that you are a master at. I usually just draw it out and scan it into illustrator I find it easier for myself. I would like to get very good at technical illustration in illustrator someday.

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