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.