poster illustration progress

click on image to view large

so my leaping guy now has some color and i am adding some shadows and highlights in the buildings. Was thinking about adding his own shadow on the buildings but I feel he's too high up in the sky for that to look 'real'.

This isn't the final color palette which gives me a bit of anxiety. I've got more than 10 colors in there already and I have no idea how I'm going to simplify it down to just 4. I just don't like simple. I like complex and detailed.

I am planning on finishing the poster tonight. I am guesstimating about 5 more hours. Don't know if that will actually happen because my eyes are exhausted. So much to do. The weekend isn't long enough.


NPDA poster illustration in progress

click to see larger

Further progress! Drawn by hand then fixed up and tweaked in illustrator.

The orange and yellow are just place fillers to give me an idea of how the piece will look when it's not b&w.

This poster has to be a 4-color process print and since I've never had to work with such a limitation before, I will have to think carefully about my color choices.

More on this later before the weekend!


NPDA poster design

I am currently working on a million things at the same time which kinda gives me ADD. The thing I'm focusing on this weekend is my illustration for the NPDA poster design.

NPDA stands for the National Portfolio Design Association and the poster is done to advertise for the event.

Here's a very quick digital concept sketch of my idea.



I am trying to guesstimate how many hours this illustration will take.

click on the image to see detail

So here, I am continuing to create shapes and while keeping my swatches palette handy, I am choosing colors that may mimic pleats or shadows but I am staying true to the original drawing.

At this point, I usually start thinking about the background image.


new drawing

A couple of people have asked me how I made my book cover illustration so I will go through the steps and hopefully it will help those who are curious about achieving the same effect.

I really love the look of water color, but find it very hard to control and very easy to mess up.
I must admit I've ruined a few drawings before while working with watercolors, when I realized that a wash has flown into a another that was not yet dry.

I have an OCD when it comes to colors so I drive myself crazy with watercolor paints since the washes can be so unpredictable.

Illustrator makes it easy to create drawings in this style and I am able to change the color scheme in seconds.

It's hard to believe I didn't know Illustrator at all just a few years ago, now I couldn't live without it..

Now if only life came with a command+z button!


Here is the sketch in the beginning stage:
A simple line drawing done in graphite, then ink, scanned in at a high resolution and cleaned up. I make sure here to save the drawing with the extension of .png because it preserves line work better than .jpegs.

I then pull the drawing into illustrator and lock that layer. On a new layer, I use the pen tool to put down a "wash" of color over the entire image. I set the transparency to about 30-40% for that shape.
It's smart to name layers if the illustration is complicated and requires a lot of different shapes in case you want to go back and make changes.

Leaving the background color as the skin tone, I locked that layer and created a new one. On the new layer, I began mapping out shapes using the pen tool, making sure not to cover up the line work. If I want the background wash to show through and also to soften the intensity of the the color, I make the shapes more transperent. (for ex., the cheeks) And if I want the colors to be more brilliant and bright, I use very little transparency or leave it at 100% (like I did for the orange).

It's also good to experiment with different colors and transparencies to see how they create color combinations in layers. With a drawing made in this style, I continue to create shapes and work out a harmony between the colors, constantly changing and tweaking until it's satisfactory.

More on this later during the week!


new illustration

I haven't doodled as much as I should have this week but it was a crazy one. I did sit down for a moment with my sister to watch an episode of Scrubs and scketched a few things for fun.
The initial sketch done in pen.*

A few layers of Prismacolor.

I realized that most of my Prismacolor markers are almost out of marker juice a few days ago. That means its time to make my monthly trip to the art supply store to replenish my art bin and buy the whole darn place again. Also on the list... color PLAKA! I'm truly obsessed with it. It's a milk-based paint that dries to the most perfect velvety matte finish and shows no brushmarks. It's kind of like gouache but much easier to handle.

* I wanted to mention that I was too lazy to look for my Microns for the b&w sketch so I used a regular Uniball pen and regretted it. The water in the markers sent the pen ink washing around and mucking up my drawing. That is why you're not seeing a scan of it. ; )
When using water-based pigment, you must erase all graphite and use a water-proof ink to keep your colors brilliant.


oldie but goodie

I haven't had a chance to update recently, but while rummaging through some old photo hosting sites, I was able to dig up an drawing I did that I really loved and spent a lot of time on. Thankfully, I recorded the process of it because it does make me very happy to see it.

It was Art-Nouveau inspired. Done on vellum in graphite, watercolor, and Prismacolor markers. The initial photographed sketch.

My fabulous illustration table. Messy.

The finished drawing was quite large, about 24 inches tall. I gave it away as a gift to an ex-boss for her Birthday a few years ago when I was bartending at The Wine Gallery in Queens.

I was just contacted by a guy who used to be a regular of mine at that place and he said that the Wine Gallery has just closed down. It was sad news to me because I used to adore that place. The people I worked with were wonderful. I will miss it.

Irene (my ex boss) framed and hung the drawing right across the bar for everyone to see. Now I wonder what's happened to it and if it will ever turn up anywhere. It's quite a shame that I only have a 72 dpi photograph of it on my dad's computer.

Lesson learned... save high-quality digital copies of every special piece.


finished book illustration

Ok, finally done! I might have to adjust the colors in PSP because the printer majorly screws up the palette all the time.
I already noticed that my colors changed a little since I converted the file from .ai to .jpeg.


Nevertheless, I am quite happy with how this turned out.

Stay tuned for my next illustration of one of my favorite DJs Amon Tobin. Here's a little rough sketch of it:



Typographic Investigations class is driving me bananas! In between lettering exercises and .. well.. lettering exercises, I'm ready for my hand to unclentch and uncramp.

Managed to squeeze in a little self-portrait.

Done from my glazed-over reflection in the mirror.

Back to work.


sketches for project

I started thinking about my E-Moticos Project that's due on Friday this afternoon while Bill Deere was talking for forever.

Hm : \

Still gathering ideas. Feel like I should watch Ray Johnson's documentary again.

These are some sketches of banner ideas for the mass weekly e-mail that I will be sending out to people that are based on interesting and weird events happening all over the world. It shall be a weekly illustrated thing.

For lack of better wording..

Still brain-storming.

p.s. if you're not seeing the pic, switch browsers.


little sketch to keep my strength up

So I stayed up rlly late last night and had to wake up pretty early for work this morning so I'm in dire need of a nap. I am afraid of screwing up my sleep pattern (it's too early in the semester to be pulling all nighters still, agreed?) so I sketched in Illustrator to keep myself from dozing off. The line work was a bit tricky since I don't have a mouse, just a tiny touch pad with silly buttons. But it kept me up nevertheless.

The sketch is of actor Sam Riley. Pen tool in Illustrator. Reference photo thanks to google.


Book Cover Progress

So I have decided to color this drawing digitally in Illustrator. It's taking an amazingly long time but I've got another week before deadline so I actually feel good about taking my time to do it carefully.

I am working in transparent layers of about 45% while mapping out shapes using the pen tool. I decided to keep the palette pretty neutral because it seems to fit very well with the book's subject matter.

While in the initial drawing of the illustration, I worked on the top-most "layer" first, in this step, I work on the background first and leave the main figures for the end. I'm not really sure why I work that way, but it seems to make sense to me.

The next step would be bringing the image into Photoshop and kicking up the line art a little.


new illustration - Vday edition

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone! In the spirit of this Hallmark holiday, I decided to go for a little bit of a theme.

I am still working on the book cover I wrote about last week, so check back to see the finished version later on. In the meantime, I am just trying to keep my hand limber by drawing little things here and there because inking and coloring really does cramp my hand right up.

This is the initial sketch, done losely with graphite, drawing from my head.

The overall inking in black Micron size 03.

Here I picked up the graphite with an eraser.

Here, I used Microns in different sizes to fill in the details, like the girl's stockings and the guy's ribbed sweater.

This was colored quickly with Prismacolor markers.

Sorry for the bad quality of these, I had to take photos of my progress in really weak evening light.


work in progress - book cover

The illustration that I am working on now is for the book The Anatomy Lesson by John David Morley. The assignment was to create two book covers, one that relies on image and another one that's type-dominant.

The first step was brain-storming about the concept of the image. I decided to illustrate the novel's main characters as I imagined them, riding freely on their bikes through the antique streets and squares of Amsterdam.

step 1.
To loosen my hand and get some ideas, I prepared a couple of very rough sketches of things that popped into my head and started thinking about possible layouts.

I think of illustrations in layers, having the most important layer dominate the image. Once I came up with the general idea of the top-most layer, I sketched it out and began thinking about the background, which was to be the bottom layer.
step 2.
At this point, I have prepared the most important part of the image and started researching images for possible backgrounds. Since the novel was set in Amsterdam, I found a perfect picture I ended up using as a reference from a travel site. After sketching the background very roughly on a separate sheet of paper, I scanned both images into Illustrator and layed out the rough bookcover and printed out a low-res illustration to use as final reference.

step 3.
Taking the rough layout to a light table, I carefully drew out the entire image in graphite on a separate sheet of paper that I placed on top. The next step would be inking using my Micron pens. This step is great to do in a non-photo blue pencil because it makes for easier clean-up in Photoshop.

step 4.
After carefully picking up some of the darker graphite areas with a kneaded eraser I began using a Micron pen in size 02 to map out the lines and outline the shapes on the top-most "layer".

The next step will be erasing the graphite and scanning in and cleaning up the illustration.
Updates of coloring is to come in the following week.