Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Process - The Happy Trumpeters

I thought I should document the process for the Happy Trumpeters piece - my memory isn't what it used to be so this might prove useful to look back on to see how not to do it!

As posted previously, using 2x3" thumbnails to get the composition totally right was a revelation. I did a couple more after those in the previous post, making the the changes I'd noted and finally settled on the one shown above.

The next stage was drawing/tracing out the main shapes in Illustrator with the Wacom... I must admit, this part of the process is the most soul destroying - mainly because its kinda taking me away from the actual feel I had from the sketch and where I want it to end up! I think, if I use this process in future, I need to keep in mind that this is purely about making shapes at this stage... not to get bogged down with if I'll be able to wrestle it back to where I want to go....

It's still scarily digital here - this shot is practically as far as I took it in Illustrator before the major work being applied in Photoshop. There was some more important development in the Ai work though - I worked on getting the arm shapes & developed the hair... Once into Photoshop, I did pop back to Ai from time to time to draw out things like hair details & taches :)

I really wanted the piece to avoid looking too digital - So once in Photoshop I practically retraced the entire image with the Wacom... The major find how flexible the brushes are in PS.

Just playing around with brush parameters - texture, scattering & combining to make dual brushes (cool!) I managed to get some real 'non-digital' marks - It's definitely going to be at the forefront of my image finishing from now on...

I added a lot of hand drawn & scanned textures and some royalty free illos for texture - a la Alberto Cerreteno... Spent ages adding extra hand drawn details because the artwork was made at A2 and I figured there'd be a lot more to see when printed!

Although it was a mammoth task, I definitely picked up a few things that'll stand me in good stead for future work... I'm thinking of trying to reduce the vector work as much as I can but it was vital to certain elements. I'll keep doing the thumbnail thing & photoshop brushes are immense and although it took upwards of 40 hours, I think it was worth it... I'm pretty happy with the result, it's definitely one of my better pieces :)

There are a few more detail shots over on Flickr photostream & of course you can also buy the print over at


  1. 40 hours work but it has definitely paid off! the detail is amazing! Thanks for showing the illustrator to photoshop transition, i love seeing other people's work process!

  2. I would love to know how you got that crayon textured brush. Any tips you want to share? ;)