I’m fulltime artist/handyman/whatever now and part-time artist/handy-man whatever so I thought I’d throw some steps up on the Cruise To The Prom Event. It’s a European Cancer benefit cruise and the cat I do the work for is big on the cartoony stuff so it’s always a fun one.
This years design calls for a few foreground cars and a Ferris Wheel in the background with little VWs as the cars.
My basic method is pencilwork – ink in Photoshop – render in Photoshop.
I looked up the global census results and it’s official…I am the WORST sketcher on the planet. I know…I know….I am honored. In any case…this starts there.
I picked a bug, a bus and a squareback, then I went to my facebook page and asked people to put up their pics of 2 of those makes and I just randomly picked 2 of them to draw.
By periodically involving my audience I can give a cool gift but also make others aware of the art and more importantly as this is a cancer benefit show…It gets more people interested in the event itself and hopefully the event will sell more shirts and stuff like that.
I also put up a number of steps sometimes on facebook and other places because your audience understanding what you put into it can be a very good thing. That’s been the case with me, but I do try to be selective. I don’t post everything I do. I don’t post all steps….there’s a little carrot dangling goin on.
I jumped into the vehicles and what I did was do the rough sketch then the worked up version on the same sheet.
Kinda like…”This…became This!”
I’ll show them all…I’m through the pencil work and the final 3 of these are ready to go to “ink” so to speak.
In the final pencils I tried to make sure to add some of those owner specific details. Little things. Stickers or certain trim or license plate kinda stuff.
The little personalization brings the audience in even closer. I wanted these toons to have a little more character so I exaggerated a bit more and threw in a lot of shapes and good bits…kinda like Charles Paw stuff in CARtoons of old.
Oh…I drew these on the back of a bunch of old stationary my moms job gave her which she gave to me and a zebra 5mm tech pencil. I use a white eraser.
To go from one stage to the next I use my light table which might as well be called “the other woman” at this point.
Just like before I use the pen tool and make paths then stroke those paths with or without brush pressure.
Sometimes I open my Photoshop file in painter and “hand ink” using the scratchboard variant which is the coolest thing ever!
On this one in Photoshop I did the contour lines first and stroked them at 10 pixels!! frekkin huge for me. I normally do 6 or 7 max, but I’m after a slightly different look so.
Here’s a closer look at the front tire paths.
What I do is use the circle tool and drag a circle on there then I hit ctrl+t which is free transform. then hold down shift and or ctrl and you can edit nodes and rotate and all that goodness. Try it…very cool.
I make sure I name my path which will save it with the file then I can rightbutton click and stroke the path with my brush settings.
I will do all the parts on separate layers and then just erase where the lines overlap, then merge the layers down. The eraser in Photoshop is amazing.
When I do the inking this way it really becomes all about rhythm.
I used to play a lot of ‘set a time goal” games but now I just draw it. I try not to think too much and just kinda go. This is what I call the “ugly stage” When the drawing is all hollow and it looks like it’s just not gonna turn out. The key is to push past and just trust in yourself. It will be ok when it’s done and the learning along the way is what it’s really all about.
here you can see the inking and I added a hilite layer and just stroked all my hilite paths with a 1 pixel red. This really is just for visual reference. I use selection masks to render in now…I don’t make hilite selections using the magic wand on the hilite layer anymore. Path operations are so much cleaner.
So I start blocking in color.
You can also see how I set up my layers. I’ll do a topic, a base and a tone layer and when done, sometimes merge them.
Another thing is creating a channel mask to select from so I don’t have to keep making a selection I’m going to use over and over, like the body for example.
Here’s how it works.
Make your selection. In this case I used the magic wand and the polygon lasso to select just the areas of the body. I expanded my selection by a pixel or two so the black line would trap it then go to the bottom of the channels pallet and click this thing.
That makes your selection a channel and trust me, you just saved hours.
By holding down ctrl and clicking on that channel it will load that selection for me. Then I can in my layers use path operations to make more selections. You’ll see.
Next I just ran an airbrush over the tires. You can see my settings. I usually airbrush low flow and just build up tone gradually.
here’s a look at the base color just chillin I spose. Now it gets fun. It’s like a blank canvas you can’t really mess up. Undo loves you…it’s awesome.
So now using a soft brush with a dark color and a light color I kinda block in some areas of light and shadow.
I’m kinda into this really dark on the bottom, light on top thing these days. probably all the cough syrup but really you can do it how you do and just you know, block it in.
I can make a selection of just the side
and using path operations (add to, subtract from, and intersect) You can refine a selection.
here’s a little closer look. I can right button click, click make selection
Then subtract from selection so the little fender lip won’t be part of the area I render in
Now I can air brush or drag gradients or make the selection a channel or whatever. pretty slick IMO.
next I make a streak layer. this is newish stuff for me. I just kinda scribble with a small brush, low opacity and set the brush to multiply. This way when the streaks overlap you will get color variations and just by following a simple rule of light on top, dark on bottom you can build a semi-convincing marker look. At this stage it’s pretty raw. In the next stages we will refine.
here you can see I started using my hilite selection areas and made a layer above my streaks. I use gradients set to like 25% and multiply. Foreground color to transparent and soft brushes. The dark edge against that light edge is critical for reflection depth so I spend some time in there brushing softly and trying to build those tones.
So what I did here was duplicate my body base layer and fill it with a much brighter red. I moved it above the other body color layers and set it’s layer property to overlay and made it like 70%. This just ‘redded” up everything and then I redid my hot whites slightly on a new layer above my duplicated body base. Just helps build depth.
next I started doin my chrome except for rims and the glass. I do the glass on a layer above the lineart layer and make sure myselection is to the edge of the black. I started with a blue tint but you will see soon how I ended up gettin down with that.
here’s a close up of the rim and hubcap. I just kinda wing it. simple tones and I try to be creative with the black fills. Those curves and points are far from realistic but they add some interest and frankly, fun, and that’s what this needs to be so. I will go back in with an eraser and clean out a hot edge just for added pop.
Speaking of added pop, there ya go. I add some sparkle brushes on a bling layer and on the glass layer I just adjusted the hue and saturation, the hue setting to a color I kinda liked. It’s pretty cool cause you can tint the glass any color pretty easily.
Once again, I used a license plate generator and added the bevel to the text and for the headlights I just scribbled over a lens I have saved and dropped in a couple headlight brushes I made. You can make a brush out of any texture so I have a few and I just mix and match until they look like something.
I wamt to send a special note to Debby B, the owner of the bus I tooned. Her enthusiasm for what I was doing made it that much more special and exciting for me. It was a pleasure.