Once in a while, I thought I'd show the complete process I go through on an illustration assignment. Here's the final art, done for Fast Company Magazine with an unmistakeable rush deadline. It's from a few years ago, and it's just occured to me that most of that cable jungle undergrowth has disappeared into the ether of the wireless night.
When it's a rush, there's usually no time to allow editors to have half a dozen choices. So, I try to get the art director and editors on my side quickly with one strong idea, if possible. It's end of day Friday, everybody wants to go home, and I'm scribbling away as I talk the idea up on the phone. As soon as I think they're getting it, the scribble's in the scanner and into a low res Photoshop file. This assignment has to do with being overwhelmed with computer cable connections.
I quickly throw some color guesswork into the drawing, and fire it off by email to the AD while I still have him or her on the phone. Not very pretty. But it's just to give them a basic idea of where we're going.
Now for the fun. First, I come up with a character that really gets across what the editors wrote, while cramming as much personality into him as I can. The man's looking fluid, and my animation influences are showing here.
On an overlay of tracing paper, I go a little crazy with computer cables attacking him like boa constrictors! Somebody STOP me! If I think I've nailed the base drawing of the guy, I like working with rough overlays, which usually seem to give me more freedom to go nuts.
One final very tight drawing, if I have the time. I want him a little nerdier, so I've used at least one jar of axle grease on his hair. Time to throw on a dance party CD and start inking! I usually ink on watercolor paper with some tooth to it, although I'm really not precious about materials at all. Whatever's handy.