Sunday, May 30, 2010

Step by Step Tiger Illustration

Hello Everyone... and by looking at the amount of followers I have I do mean ONE. LOL

So its been a while since I have posted a blog partly to being busy, partly because of chronic laziness, and partly because of constant alien invasions. I assure you I'm doing every thing in my power to battle the latter.

So, here I am in front of my screen, once again eager to share my life with the few of you goodly enough to stumble upon my little world here. And what am I sharing with you today you ask? (As if the title or banner for that matter hasn't given it away.) You guessed it, my step by step approach to my latest illustration! (For anyone that desires a more in depth tutorial I encourage you to buy Drew Struzan's "Conceiving and Creating The Hellboy Movie Poster" found at as that is where I got this technique from.) I have to give credit where credit is due!

Now that being said, watching this DVD alone was not enough. I was fortunate enough to have Jeff Preston as my illustration professor in school. (you can follow him here: / Between Jeff's instruction, the encouragement of classmates, and a LOT of practice, I feel like Im really on my way to becoming a successful illustrator. I have followed Drew's work since before I even knew his name. As I'm sure is the case with anyone that went to the movies between the 70's and now. When I first saw his DVD advertised on his page I freaked out, no really, I freaked! I had to have it! I cant tell you how many times I have watched it, I REALLY enjoy his technique, which is why I prefer to work the way I do. That being said, lets get on with it shall we. The following images were shot with my cell phone with the exception of the final art (its a hi res scan).

First I start with a illustration board that I tone grey with Gesso mixed with payne's grey or black. Once that dries I draw the illustration with a 6H pencil. I then add little black splatters for texture to the illustration with acrylic paint on a tooth brush. And once thats done then anywhere that is going to be black, I brush that in with black acrylic paint. Also for this composition I wanted to give the leaves a thick black outlining to help them stand out. This is also due to my taste and how I like things to look, I think a lot of this is due to being a avid comic book fan and EVERYTHING in a comic is outlined.

So next, I thin some acrylic paint down with water for use with my airbrush and begin adding the color. You can see I wanted a little different look from your typical setting for a tiger. I added maple leaves with fall colors for the tiger to peer from instead of the typical jungle scene. The white in the tigers face is still just the toned board showing through, I haven't added any color to those areas yet.

Next, I really start to give the tiger shape by adding shadows. This was achieved by adding small amounts of black to burnt umber and using the airbrush to paint on transparently over the existing color. I've found this allows me to add shading quickly without making the image look flat or muddy, or lose any color. I chose burnt umber because of the color pallet I used for this illustration. There are a lot of oranges, yellows, and browns already so I just wanted a darker brown for the shadows.

Lastly, I added detail with color pencils, reestablishing lines, helping the color transition from one to the next a little better and gives the art texture. This is also how I added some detail to the fur and the whiskers. I added a few color "splatters" to the leaves to give them a little more texture and interest. Once this was finished it was signed and sprayed with crystal clear to seal the art and really darken up the blacks. Done and done. : )

Well, there you have it. Thank you for stopping by and hopefully it wont be so long between posts next time. If you want to see this illustration and many others from local artists like myself in person. Feel free to attend the Ads to Art charity Auction at the Nashville Zoo on June 3rd 2010, the event will run from 6:30 till 9:30. I hope everyone out there has a great Memorial day, remember our soldiers and stay safe!


1 comment: