Friday, August 29, 2014

We Are All One (Process)

Here is a process gif of my newest illustration/design.

Step 1. You can see I started with a pencil drawing. I did some preliminary sketches of the layout and individual character studies before making this drawing. I tried to not use too many references because I wanted this to flow and be from my imagination. The drawing phase is the most crucial in my opinion because without a good foundation, or composition, the whole piece will fall apart. Once the drawing was finished I scanned it into my computer.

Step 2. I edited the drawing a little, changed the arm and leg length on one character, and then added a Layer Filter to give the drawing a pink tone while I inked the drawing.

Step 3 & 4. I inked the circle of characters and the text with black lines.

Step 5. Solid blue was added behind the circle of characters.

Step 6 & 7. The addition of low-lights (shadows) was handled next. Since the pencil drawing included shading I made the solid blue layer invisible while working on the shadows. The highlights where not part of the drawing and I made the blue layer visible while working on them. As opposed to what the gif (above) shows, I toggled back and forth between working on the low-lights and highlights. It is kind of a push and pull process, that reminds me of the process of addition and subtraction in sculpture, and it reveals itself as you jump from character to character.

Step 8, 9 & 10. The background color is added, the text color is changed to the highlight color, and some shade is added to the text.

Step 11. Not pictured. From the beginning each color was made in black, was created on a separate layer in PhotoShop, and had a layer color overlay as a color placeholder. After the art was finished I experimented with the highlight, mid-tone, and low-light until I was satisfied with the hue and vibrance in relation to the background. This phase is important and kind of a reflective period. From experience I know it should not be rushed; in the past I think I have ruined pieces in this phase by selecting bad colors.

There is a Psychedelic contest going on at Threadless right now and I decided to do something even though I have been a bit burned out lately. This time I drew something that was fun to draw and illustrated it in a screen-print friendly, or graphic, style. The style is influenced by skateboard deck designs I grew up with in the late 80s and 90s. Conceptually it based around the five senses and how they come together to form our consciousness. At the same time it is also about life, the afterlife, time and space. I am not sure if anyone will get any of that and it does not really matter to me. The conceptual side of art is what keeps me excited and motivated to keep making and finishing art. This all said, I want the meaning of this art to be fairly loose and up to interpretation. What I hope, in the end, is that people will think it looks cool enough to want to wear it but if they do not I am still satisfied because the process of making the art was fulfilling in and of itself.

Edited the text a bit. Here is the newest version:

I will post the link when to the design on Threadless when it is available.


Recently I sat myself down and learned how to make basic animated gifs in PhotoShop. This is the result of my exploration. Hopefully you like it because I will start posting my newer gif creations now and again. Over time I hope to get better at them.