Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Illustration Process

I thought it might be (mildly) fun and / or interesting to show the process I go through in producing an illustration - in this case a t-shirt design for AR Mcguire - steadicam operators extraordinaire. This was for a promotional t-shirt to be given away to cast and crew on the set of the new Streetfighter movie, then shooting in Thailand.

Step 1: Roughs

I started with a rough pencil sketch, based on the brief - to produce an illustration showing the AR steadicam operator as a Streetfighter-style character, surrounded by the actual characters in the movie. I didn't worry too much about likenesses etc. at this stage, as it was just to get the basic gist of the design in place.

This then got changed and added to a couple of times, as the client requested additional characters and various minor alterations.

1. First version.

2: Balrog pops up top right, M. Bison (top centre) has his dodgy arm attended to.

3. A new challenger! And another. I forget these guys' names.

Step 2: Inks

Once the client was happy with the roughs, I then inked the design. I usually do my 'inking' in Manga Studio, but decided to try a different approach for this. I started by drawing in the white highlights on the characters, and then filled in the black shapes behind them. I really enjoyed working this way, and love the high-contrast vaguely-Frank-Miller-y effect it gives you. I'm totally going to try drawing a whole comic in this style. One of these days. When I get a minute.

At this stage I had to use a lot of photo reference to get the actors likenesses right - I'm pretty pleased with the result - while being quite abstract / stylised, I think they do kind of look like the people they're supposed to be. (I forget some of them, but casting highlights include Kristin Kreuk as Chun-Li and Michael Clarke Duncan as Balrog.)

I stuck in a red background to give these JPEGs a nice high contrast look, but the actual files were sent to the client as unflattened files with a transparent background, so they could be printed on the t-shirt colour of their choice.

I produced a couple of versions, one with the black figure art for all the characters and one with it only on the camera operator.

I think I like the second one best.


  1. As Tony Hancock would say:
    "How very uninteresting!"

    - joke pal, joke. So i am here checking out your new blog. Will try to link to it on my one. Very gld you are doing well Neill. As, thankfully, am I! Gambatte!

  2. Kristin Kreuk! Why didn't anybody tell me about this?