An Illustrated Process–it’s an illustration!

I’ve been off the “creating” wagon as of late, why? certainly not because I’ve spent my weekends playing video games and reading comic books! yes no sirree-bob I’m not distracted at all! So let’s correct that and do a little illustration based on a dream I dreamed. Dream!

When I dream, my brain often treats me to a movie-like experience, where I am just an spectator to the action playing out inside my noggin with limited involvement. Sometimes I’ll be embedded inside one of the “actors” in my dream but most of the actions are not my own, think of it like wearing one of those new vr-headset thingers except that you’re asleep and you don’t look like a doofus.

a line drawing of my illustration

Step one is the line-art!

In my dream, I followed the adventures of a headstrong, yet timid and level -headed, young woman as she traveled and unknown city, facing perils and non-perils alike. As it is with dreams, I can’t remember EVERY detail involved but just about enough to get the general gist of the dream along with some of the more striking details. In this case, I remember it being a water based city so I dub it “aquatown” (is that copyrighted?)

step two-coloring!

about where I gave up with sketchbook pro, I miss my Photoshop!

For this little illustration, I wanted to step out of my  comfort zone and work entirely digitally! I started out drawing in autodesk’s sketchbook pro because it mimics traditional drawing and painting and also because I remembered that it exists. The big canvas allowed me to both develop thumbnail sketches and the underlying line-art for the illustration! buuuuuut… that’s about when I gave up with that, I missed Photoshop’s  more robust options.

the characters are colored in

the characters get filled in with color! thanks pen tool!

From the beginning, I new my image would utilize a lot of cool hues, tons of green and blues, after all those colors invoke aqua-ish feelings, right? I had Aqueducts and pool tiles in my brain while coloring this illustration. To get some color inspiration I just used google to look at pools, sometimes you just have to google things, you know?


the background coloration, you can see my google found-image here, it’s hidden by the dragon in the illustration!

Color is always a struggle, and I am thankful for Photoshop’s vast options to beat it! into shape! so to balance the cool foreground colors, I added a splash of yellow to the very back, the yellow plays nicely with the green, don’t you think? it’ s also why the girl’s dress is red and the lizard up to is orange, hurrah for complementary colors!

a combination of background colors and character colors

everything together! it’s starting to look like a thing!

From there I added other details, like some water to the floor (it is a watery-based scene after all) and some mossy foliage to the bridge. Along the illustration process I also kept the light source in mind, as you can probably guess most of the light comes from the entry way to the alley the characters are standing on, so there is strong light surrounding the girl, but her figure itself is cover in shadow, cast by the big dragon. I wanted the light to reflect a feeling of uncertainty, is the girl in danger? is it just dramatic? I’ve left that up to the interpretation. (But if you’ve been paying attention, you’d have seen the grumpy mermaid in the margins and come to the conclusion that nothing serious is about to go down. Maybe)

The finished rendered and cropped illustration, with strong shadows and balanced colors.

The Finished piece! what do you think? I think it’s pretty great for a practice piece.

I’m gonna call this one done! I’ve still got much to practice and much to learn, many different illustration style and things to practice. Art is a skill after all, and if you don’t practice you get rusty! Join me next time for another ILLUSTRATED PROCESS!

(Fun fact: while most of the initial drawing and painting was done with a Wacom Intuos3 the rest was done with a mouse, you gotta get along with what you have!)


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