STS9 poster (without tour info)
1. The rough sketch for this piece was done digitally to save time. I begin by pushing and pulling shapes until I've achieved an idea that's polished enough to move forward with. Normally I do a color study at this stage as well. This omission of my process came back to bite me in the ass, as you'll soon see.
2. This is what my final pencils looked like scanned, cleaned up, and isolated on their own layer in photoshop. The drawing is not 100% complete, but will suffice as the base layer of the piece. Time to make with the color.
3. My original idea was to make the space eel radiating rainbow colors, and keep a neutral color palette for the rest of the piece. I begin by isolating sections into shapes below the drawing layer, and painting onto those shape layers. This is tedious work with the pen tool, but necessary for easy changes later.
4. The piece begins to take shape as color is applied to the line layer and additional background shapes. I begin to second guess my rainbow palette at this stage, when the colors aren't allowing bright enough values. I then bang my head into my desk repeatedly, as additional punishment for not doing my color study upfront.
5. Being a winter themed tour, I decided to change the rainbow colors to minty greens and an all cool palette. The omission of rainbow colors is allowing the eel to pop and glow against dark space in the way I originally intended. I plop the STS9 logo into place indiscriminately. That needs to change already...
6. I find a better place for the logo, add lighting effects, and sketch in what will be the final drawing elements digitally. Time to go back into drawing mode.
7. This is the final drawing layer with the included stars, lightning, fire, and transparent figure details. These were not done in the original drawing stage because they overlap the underdrawing, and I wanted them to be transparent.
8. The final image takes shape with subtle halftones and color applied to the remaining elements. My desired level of polish is achieved, and the client calls to say nevermind. Just another day in the life of a professional illustrator.