Archive for November, 2009

Illustration Friday – “Music”

November 26, 2009

I made this a couple of years back and thought it would be great for this week’s entry on Illustration Friday – Music.

The image is made up using printed textures that I created by hand with a roller and various papers. I then scanned these and used them to create “cut out” shapes in Photoshop.

For a while I really liked working in this style and you can see more of this approach in the Monkey Temple section of Good Infection Ltd, where I do work under the pseudonym of P. Joliffe. Check em out here if you are interested!


the original sketch

November 26, 2009

and here is the original sketch again to compare…

Mad Prof FINAL!

November 25, 2009

Yippee! I am leaving it here. I have added a few touches with some basic Photoshop techniques. The soft shadow to give the cut out effect is created using good old Gaussian Blur on a solid copy of the whole figure dropped behind the main character.

I also couldn’t resist adding some soft shadow to his wonderful hair. The thing is with me, I could go on and on making changes, but what I tend to do is pretend I am on a deadline. This is a good exercise for illustrators as it keeps your brain active and able to make decisions about the direction of a piece as you work on it and within the time limit.

Including all the commentary on this process, this work has taken me about 8 hours.

I hope you like the finished result. I would love to hear your comments and if you are a budding illustrator with any questions on my process and own experience, please drop me a question in the comment section and I will be happy to reply.

Mad Prof Stage 9

November 25, 2009

Right! I think I am happy with the colour palette. I was tempted to leave the background in monochrome (all comments welcome of course!) but I am in a happy mood and thought let’s go for all colour everywhere. However, I have kept to a limited palette. This is really important in my opinion, when creating characters using a vector program like Adobe Illustrator. The strong, flat colours that this program is so good at producing gives a certain look….a bit like the certain look you get in CGI cartoons: no matter who is making em, Disney or Pixar or Dreamworks, they all have a certain quality about them that is defined by the technology being used as the tool. I find if you put too many “flavours” in the mix you lose the strength that is inherent in vector illustrations.

Right, now for some finishing touches and cropping in Photoshop…..

mad prof stage 8

November 25, 2009

I like the pink for the face and hands as it contrasts in a nicely mad way with the lurid green of “serum X5” which our man is quaffing.

I have also changed the colour of the outlines to a very dark grape. I like the way it lifts the image and gives it a bit of madness while still providing the punchiness of black, but with a richer colour effect.

I am fairly happy with the test tube and contents too and have made the bubbles change colour as their background colour changes, so they remain visible.

His hair – I had thought of adding some texture by painting in Painter or Photoshop, but having added the grape outline I am beginning to think it works as is – simple and wacky. I may do a second version with the textures just to see…

Mad prof stage 7

November 25, 2009

First colour try outs on the face and coat….

Mad Prof Stage 6

November 25, 2009

Well, I am pretty much done with the main design now. Its time to start thinking about COLOURS!!

Now that I have a fairly decent grey range throughout the image, I can start thinking usefully about the levels of tonal contrast I want in my image. The tones at this stage in the image don’t need to be perfect, but just give a good idea of where to explore in the colour range.

I have added more details in the background and also some lighting effect using a transparent overlay  in front of all the background objects but not the figure, who stands out nicely.

I have also added another little character who is looking on in dismay as our mad prof drinks his potion!

Mad Prof Stage #5

November 25, 2009

Aaaah….I love doing the liney bits! Once you have the basics – lights, darks and of course the main shapes of the drawing rendered effectively, putting in the keylines just makes the character spring to life! Its the fun part and aside from messing with the soft shading in Photoshop or the colours and texture, for me its the most satisfying bit. The for me is to keep the line economic and SIMPLE! Don’t go crazy and let the basic drawing you started with do the work. A bad drawing bring a design to its knees no matter how much “fuss” you add to hide the problems.

Mad Prof Stage 4

November 25, 2009

Now I have added more shadows and started to really give some depth and substance to the figure. The transparency setting in Adobe Illustrator is really useful for this when you want to render one area of shade over another, as in the left side of his jacket collar casting shade over his shirt. Here I used one dark shape with a lower opacity setting to allow the other shades beneath to show through, giving the illusion of depth and solidity.

To create effective vector drawings, it is so important to create a feeling of “rightness” in the chiaroscuro – the interplay between light and dark in an image or object. I think this no matter how simple your final design might be: your drawing ability – your ability to “see” forms as light reveals them to you – is crucial in the decision making process; whether you decide to leave shadows out altogether even….everything is a creative, productive decision (or should be).

Notice at this stage I am leaving his hair flat – I am thinking of building some texture later into that wig!

I have also placed the basic background shapes of a cupboard and a blackboard behind him. These are going to stay simple but need to be here to give context to our character.

Mad prof stage#3

November 24, 2009

I have made some changes to the tonal values and am at the moment thinking white coat with some very light blue shadowing, but that could change.

The nice thing about working in grey tones to begin with is that you get a good sense of the contrast values that you need between colours in the palette you eventually go with.

The black outline just gives the figure such a nice punch out of the composition that I know at this point I am going to keep it. The feel I want is mainly flat colour and a quick render is what I am after in this one. When I leave the outline off its usually because I want to deepen textures and give the shapes themselves a more “3d” look with soft shadows and textures created in Photoshop and sometimes Corel Painter. I find that if you try to do both a strong outline and work more into the substance of the shapes, the two conflict and the image looks ugly and overdone.