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Making the Ock

By Rach ~ Friday, 14 October 2011

I thought it might be interesting to show the making of this little illustration I did. It was inspired by our surnames (once they are combined), Oxton King, and has been christened ‘The Ock’.

The image started as a pencil sketch on a bus, just a doodle really. This sketch was then scanned into the computer.

Taking the sketch into Illustrator, I started to block out the basic shapes of the ock with the pen tool over the top of the sketch. When doing this I find it helps to have the transparency of the shapes set fairly low, so that you can still see the drawing underneath.

Then I started to play with colours on the blocks of the ock, I didn’t really have a colour palette for this but knew I wanted warm shades of browny orange. The other step at this stage was to ‘live trace’ the pencil drawing in Illustrator, which basically converts the pencil to a rough vector. This was moved to the top layer of the image and set to 20% opacity and blend mode ‘darken’, which starts to add a bit of texture to the illustration.

The next stages were all about the fur! I needed to add a hell of a lot more texture because I wanted his fur to look really hairy. This was done using the pencil tool with a wacom tablet and pretty much scribbling small jaggedy shapes, which I then set the colour of dependant on where they were on the ock and where the light would be hitting him. They were all set to blend mode ‘overlay’ to try and get more of a build up of depth and texture.

Similar processes were used on the fur of the crown. To the metallic parts of the crown I added light overlays of gradient to try to get depth and a subtle sheen. Similarly, gradients were added to the horns. I also took a look at the overall image and tried to balance out the light and shadow across the whole thing, adding more gradients and darker patches of fur where necessary.

I debated leaving the original pencil drawing and the overlay of the live-traced pencil off, giving him a cleaner, ‘vector style’ look but in the end I decided that the pencil elements added a bit of extra interest and texture to it, so the final image has the original pencil drawing behind and the live-traced pencil over the top.

If anyone has any more questions about this process, please feel free to leave a comment below!