Monday, April 19, 2010

the Detective

This week's topic for Illustration Friday is "Detective". After taking a couple weeks off from IF, I was happy to jump back in, especially for an opportunity to draw Barb City's best cop again. I found a couple new challenges to doing this one, like the falling snow. It's important to make it present while not letting it take over the drawing.
I also saved all the steps of the process I used to make this and thought I'd lay them out in this post so anyone who's curious can see the steps I went through to make this illustration.

It all starts with a series of idea sketches. When I settle on an idea, I typically do a quick sketch like this one. Not too much detail, it's more along the lines of figuring out proportions, angles and layout of all the elements, as well as sketching in little ideas as sort of visual notes, like the snow. I wanted to make sure I didn't forget that as a finishing touch.

After I'm satisfied that I have the layout and concept pretty well mapped out, I go ahead and make a more detailed pencil drawing. I tend to do a pretty tight drawing at this phase. This is the drawing I'm going to use as a template in Adobe Illustrator, so I want to make sure everything's clear as far as which line to follow and where everything's going to be.
After this drawing is complete I scan it in and place it as a template in Illustrator.

I spend a couple good hours just doing line work. This is the equivelant of doing traditional ink work. This is where I add definition to the lines and let the communicate, and this is where a lot of the depth and detail are added to the final product. It takes a lot of tedious work, but this is kind of where I feel I make or break the drawing.

After the inking and outline step, I go ahead and do all the flat colors of the drawing. I usually do this on a few different layers, underneath the "ink" layer. This makes changes and control over the drawing easier. This is also where I figure out exactly which colors work best. I generally go into a drawing with a good idea of what colors I'm going to use, but the exact shade of each one is up in the air until this step. It can of course change after this as well, but this gives me an important stepping stone towards that.

Finally, I add shadows, highlights and any other details, like snow in this case, for the drawing. This is really what "sells" the drawing for me. I did this particular drawing over the course of this weekend. From start to finish, I'd say I spent somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-12 hours on this one. There is the occasion where that time is spent and the end result just comes up short, but in a case like this, I'd say that it's time well spent.
Thanks for looking and check back soon.


Nathanael Lark said...

Very nice post. I especially enjoyed reading your description of the line work that you created. As an illustrator myself I was secretly hoping that you would reveal a fast shortcut for this step. But alas, I'm glad to see that I'm not alone in the tedious process of creating vector line work. I completely agree with you that it can make or break the illustration and you did a wonderful job of it here!

Phil Rood said...

Thanks a lot man. Sorry I don't have a shortcut, just a couple long winded methods that work for me.

Jack Foster said...

Great illo Phil and wonderfully detailed description. Your use of lines and color are terrific!

Phil Rood said...

Thanks very much Jack. I appreciate you looking and your good feedback.