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Behind the Scenes – The Illustration Process

28 Apr, 2017 Brett Ferrin

Good design and illustration doesn’t magically happen – it’s the result of hours of hard work and dedication.

No two graphic designers work the same and each and every one has their own unique process in creating new and exciting work. I recently had the opportunity to create a series of luchador-inspired posters for Fluid Advertising. Here’s my own process that I followed to create these advertisements:

1. Research, Brainstorm and Inspiration
The  most difficult part of any project is taking the time to brainstorm and research before getting to work creating. I find that the key to great ideas is to a) Get out of the office; and b) spend an inordinate amount of time on Pinterest. For this project, I was specifically inspired by the simple cartoony style of Brosmind (two illustrators based in Spain) and a variety of other Lucha Libre-inspired imagery.

2. Sketch, Sketch, Sketch.
Once I felt confident with a few ideas, I got to sketching. After spending a few hours goofing around in a sketchbook, I scanned several pages into Photoshop and started laying out the posters in rough (emphasis, ROUGH) thumbnails. After getting feedback and additional direction from my creative director, I moved on to create a more fleshed-out digital sketch using a Wacom Tablet.

3. Color Explorations
Getting the right color palette for your design piece is deceptively difficult. Thanks to amazing resources like Adobe Kuler (color.adobe.com) and designspiration.net I was eventually able to find a color palette for all three posters that felt coherent and right for the style of illustration.

4. Final Line-Drawing and Coloring
By far, the most time intensive part of the process was finalizing the art work. Several late nights of binge-watching Law and Order: SVU later, and I’m finally ready to add color to my luchadores based on the previous color explorations. Just like the sketches, I digitally created everything using the Wacom Tablet in Photoshop. At this point, I added the hand-drawn typography and other Fluid brand elements.

5. Add Texture
Once I was happy with the line-work and color. I was ready to add the magic of texture. There’s an almost never-ending supply of free brushes and textures found online (lostandtaken.com is a lifesaver), so be sure to take your time and find the right photoshop brush(es) to make your piece standout.

There it is! A quick run through of my illustration process. Be sure to follow Fluid on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to see more work from us.

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