I recently had the opportunity to create a series of drawings for my friend Mischa McLachlan to give as a gift to his friend Gary. The idea was to show Gary hanging out with the band Daft Punk. Specifically, the direction was to show Gary singing and playing the piano, driving his new Audi, going snowboarding, and running a race.
I enjoy doing commissions like these because they are never what you expect. I am given ideas for drawings that I wouldn’t have come up with on my own, and it gives me a chance to experiment with different techniques that I normally wouldn’t do for commercial work.
I thought I would take this opportunity to show a bit of my process and how I arrived at the final artwork.
Whenever I do a drawing, I like to sketch a lot of ideas out. I’m not concerned with creating good drawings. I am more concerned about composition, where lines go, the rhythm of the piece etc. Also, drawing on scrap pieces of paper (or cut up bristol) helps me stay looser. I’m not worried about doing a “great drawing” if I know the paper is scrap.
I also experiment with various colors as I try to imagine what the final piece will look like. Since the job was to produce 3 pieces that worked together as a series, I felt I wanted to draw with a range of different colors, but that they would all still feel as if they belonged together.
Research is always important when doing any drawing, big or small. I didn’t know a whole lot about Daft Punk (shame on me, I know) so I bought some of their music and spent some time researching their various costumes. I did a lot of thumbnails of the different suits they wear, trying to learn where each line should go etc.
Mischa is a good client, and responds quickly, so I was able to send him sketches and ask him questions about what I was drawing. He would respond in a manner that allowed me to “keep on trucking”. It’s important to have that kind of open dialogue when creating art. I appreciate it.
SO… after lots of sketches, research, emails and coffee, I landed on 3 final compositions:
Now, what’s interesting about this last concept (snowboarding with the car), is that I wanted to show a vertical composition. But after reviewing with Mischa (and my wife), we felt that all 3 drawings needed to be of the same composition (12 x 9 horizontal). That meant I needed to re-draw that Audi!
Here’s how Photoshop can really help with traditional drawing. I really liked the original drawing I did of the Audi, and was worried that by re-drawing it, I may lose some of it’s personality. So, I scanned in the original car drawing, stretched it out to the new composition size (12 x 9 instead of 9 x 12), printed it out, traced my original drawing, and then did a new drawing right on top of that. It also allowed me to adjust some proportions to get the car just the way I wanted it. I do a lot of traditional drawing that then gets edited in Photoshop, that then gets re-drawn on paper that then gets edited in Photoshop etc. etc. etc. It’s a cool way to work.
So here are the end results. Traditionally drawn, and colored digitally. Each piece measuring 12 x 9. You can see them much larger over on my site.
Thanks for the opportunity Mischa!