Back in December of 2013 I decided to write a post about the process for creating my illustrations. Well, here it is, the very first step by step breakdown of my creative process for making Illustrations. I hope this review will be informative, and helpful to other artists & illustrators as well.
Step 1. Concept: Almost every illustration I create starts with a rough concept that I see in my head. The concept is inspired from something I see, read, or hear about. I got the concept for the Knight Rider poster from an episode of the show that I watched on television. I then proceeded to draw a rough sketch of the concept that I saw in my head. When I begin, I usually like to sketch in pen with black ink. I then go over my lines with a black sharpie marker to make them stand out more. Nothing against using a pencil to sketch, (because I sometimes do that too) but I usually use a regular pen with black ink to sketch my roughs.
Step 2. References: Any great or professional artist will tell you they either have or use references to help them create their artwork. Since I wanted to draw a poster of the Knight Rider show from the 80's, I was going to need to some good reference material. I needed pictures of the main character Michael Knight, the car known as K.I.T.T., as well as the supporting characters Devin, and Bonnie. I found several photos on the internet that I used as reference for drawing the characters in their likeness from the show.
Step 3. More References: I already had the rough concept in my mind of how, and where I wanted Michael knight to be in terms of layout. The challenge was being able to get the right pose to capture the feel of him behind the wheel of the car. After drawing a few rough thumbnails of the poster, I began to think about the Fast N Furious movies. The FAF movies always had plenty of shots of people behind the steering wheel. The drivers often had a look of determination, or intensity, which is exactly what I wanted for Knight Rider. So I decided to watch a few scenes from the 1st & 2nd films, and found the references I was looking for. After quick pause of the movie, followed by a screen grab, and print copy, I finally had my next photo reference to use for the poster.
Step 4. Last References: Capturing the look of the car K.I.T.T. was very important, because it was very much a part of the show as the main character. After looking through several pages of photos on the internet, I found 2 that really captured the impression I was going for. The top photo became my primary reference photo for K.I.T.T. ,while the second photo served as a good background, and special effects reference. I wanted to show the car racing at top speed, almost, as if it were going to race off the poster. The photos were also good references for showing how light and shadow appears on the car.
Step 5. Rough Poster Design: This is what the poster looks like after my layout has been established, and everything has been drawn together. At this stage, I am re-drawing the poster using a non-photo blue pencil, and my number 2B pencil, for re-enforcing my shading and shadows. The scale of the poster has been established, as well as any fine details or effects.
Step 6. Clean Ink lines: When all the rough shadows & details have been worked out in the poster, then its time for inking. During this process, I use my Micron, Staedtler, or any other design marker, to trace over my pencil lines with very clean ink lines. This process is very similar to how a comic book inker traces over the rough pencil lines to finish a comic book page. In order to get my ink lines very clean and precise, I trace over my rough pencils using a lightbox.
Step 7. The Finishing Touches: The poster is now ready to enter into the final phase which is coloring. I start by scanning the clean, inked version of the poster at around 300 dpi (dots, per inch). Next, I open up Adobe photoshop to color the poster using various separate layers such as: Original drawing, color flats, background colors, skin shading, hair shading, clothes shading, and car shading. I also used the gradient feature to shade both the car, and characters in the poster. After all the shading is completed, I add special effects. For the Knight Rider poster I wanted to give K.I.T.T. the illusion of speeding very fast. To achieve this, I used a motion blur filter on the speed lines to give the effect of motion. I repeated the motion blur effect on the smoke as well. The red sensor was actually copied from another photo, and pasted into my drawing of the car in the poster. To make the red sensor and headlights glow, I added an outer-glow effect. The background colors were created to resemble how the car looked during the opening credits of the TV show. Next, I wanted to add the title fonts from the actual TV show. Since I didn't have that particular font style on my computer, I had to copy and past the title font from another photo I had already (Again Reference!). Lastly, I used the bevel and emboss effects, followed by some glow effects, to make the title fonts stand out on the poster. And after a few hours of work on the computer my Knight Rider poster is finally complete. ^_^
So there you have it, a detailed review of my step by step process for creating posters. Again, I hope you found it entertaining and informative. Maybe next time, I'll do a step by step review of my process for drawing or coloring comic pages.
But until then, STAY CREATIVE!