Sunday, July 15, 2012

Illustration Process : Step 2

Previously I talked about finding good reference images and doing a little research prior to building an illustration is helpful. Now I'll take a look at the early stages of building that illustration using Adobe Illustrator.

Step 2 : Basic Line Work

Sometimes I'll do some quick sketches on paper of what I want, other times when the vision is clear to me I'll just dive right in. I prefer illustrating with Adobe Illustrator as my end product is a vector image that can be scaled to any size and still look sharp and crisp. However, I don't enjoy using a single path to define my lines. When I draw the shape of a head, for example, I draw it twice. First I draw a larger path that defines the outer edge of the shape, then I draw a second smaller path that defines the inner edge of that shape. The lines don't match up perfectly, which is what I want, so when I punch the smaller shape out of the larger I end up with a line that has varying weight throughout it and feels more organic. I do this throughout the illustration.

This is a crop of the initial figure line work. While I got fairly detailed with the face as I wanted it to look like the actor who plays Tyrion in the TV series, I haven't yet added the details to his costume.

Step 2 : Refinement

I spend some time zooming in and out of the image to ensure there is a consistency in line weight and path quality throughout the image. I like to ensure my paths butt up against one another leaving no gaps behind that might eventually cause issues. Tight line work saves a lot of headache later on.

I also finish adding any details and elements that might overlap the previous round of shapes. For example, there are straps that tie the sides of Tyrion's vest together, but they would overlap the line work that actually shows his vest is separated down it's center. To help keep that detail easy to find in my file, I put them in separate layers. I also add any other overlapping details such as the flourishes in his vest.

From here I proceed in to adding the base colors.

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