I was approached to design a tattoo for a friend, with the parameters that it be an octopus playing the drums. It had been a little under a year since my last big octopus drawing, so it was perfect timing to get eight-limbed.
As for most of my large illustrations, I do a rough sketch first. Pending the approval of my friend, I can proceed from here to a larger pencil drawing.
I don’t always do such extensive pencils, but I don’ want to play it fast and loose with such a complex subject. Penciling will map out where light and shadows will go when it’s time to ink.
When inking, I try to be mindful of the marks I’ve made with pencil to know when I have a hard or soft shadow, what kind of light source I’m supposed to have, etc.
Applying ink-wash is the most fun because it’s so much less time consuming the way I do it: I lay down some water with an aqua brush, drop the wash from an eye dropper, and let it mix itself.
Once I scanned the dried illo into photoshop, I change the levels , being mindful of the mid-tones that the wash has created. Additionally, I put a color layer in for a subtle tint.
I came across a still from Jason and the Argonauts, which is a movie that had a profound influence on my formative years. I’d recommend seeing it for the Ray Harryhausen animation alone. So here’s my process.
I started with pencils.
Then I moved onto line work.
Then I added some spot blacks
And followed by some ink wash.
And finally I added a color layer and adjusted the levels in Photoshop.
I was going to document this step by step, but I was so enthusiastic about drawing my dad with the Fez I got him for Xmas that I forgot to document each step properly. I may go back and play with this image further, but for now it’s done. This is an ink wash and brush pen team-up with a little photoshop color tint.
One of my favorites movies is Double Indemnity, which I first saw as a dumbass 18-year-old. Dumbass or not, I was able to appreciate the beautiful compositions and noir lighting.Recently, I watched this on a projector and I was able to take some very crisp reference photos. Here’s a process series!