Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How I make an Illustration

TOM - I haven't done a process post in a while, so I thought I would share with you how I created this week's 'First Time' illustration for Nerve.com It's a sex column where people write about their 'first time' and although it's fun to draw people humping and kissing, I would get bored if I had to draw that every week. The young woman writing of her experience describes herself as a quiet outsider who likes books and cats and wore glasses that she thought made her look like an owl. I loved that line and decided to use the owl comparison as a jumping off point...

...so I start off by brainstorming on a sheet of paper. These are just scribbles at this point, I work really fast so that I could get all my ideas down before I start to over think anything, that comes later. I don't care about drawing on top of another idea, it's a total mess. I could understand it, but I wouldn't expect anyone else to.

Then I tighten a couple ideas up and this is the one that we finally decided to go with. Like many birds, owls build their nests in holes of trees and keep it very guarded. I decided to put the woman in a nest that has a suggestive shape. She's guarding her own 'nest' so to speak. It's kind of subtle, but the goal is to make it work as an interesting illustration whether people pick up on that or not.

Then I light box over the sketch so I could tighten up the composition, add detail, all that good stuff.

My favorite part, the inks! I used a mix of a nib and brush to ink this one. The nib pen allowed me to add textures in the tree and to the owl, where the brush helped differentiate the woman from the rest of the piece.

Then, it's into Photoshop for some coloring. I wanted to make this a nigh time scene, so I used blues, greens and grays. I used limited white which I hope draws the viewer in as well as push the whole 'owl' metaphor.
Is this a sex illustration? I don't know, but I had fun regardless and I hope you enjoyed reading about my process. Enough about what I think though, let me know what you think in the comment section below!
Take care.


Jess Ruliffson said...

aaaaaaaah this is awesome! one of my favorites so far, thanks for posting the drawing process, it's super awesome.

thomas pitilli said...

Thanks Jess!

c.m. duffy said...

Is that opening in the tree supposed to, uhh *ahem*---resemble anything else...though it is rather, errr...sizeable?
have I a filthy mind?

thomas pitilli said...

It's no ore filthy than mine, but yeah, you got it.