Wednesday 30 March 2011

More of the Wonders of Illustrator

Still under the deadline cosh and just getting to that dangerous moment when I'm half kidding myself that I'm doing almost OK on the impossible deadline. Do here's another posting but partly in response to a suggestion from fellow blogger and illustrator Graeme Neil Reid, I'm going to be slightly, well OK VERY self indulgent and share with you one of the gazillions of artworks I am doing for a series of ELT books.

In common with a lot of illustrators, I work entirely digitally save for a little A6 drawing book, which I am currently devoting to filling up with a lot of anatomy exercises courtesy of the late, great George Bridgman. If you are keen to pursue a career in illustration and envisage yourself being required to draw figures from imagination then you absolutely need these books! I am not great when it comes to figure drawing and fall into the category of illustrators that need to constantly work hard at keeping on top of anatomy - hence the exercises.

Anyway, to get back to digital illustration, I spent years and years working in Photoshop and avoided using vector based drawing software of which Illustrator is pre-eminent, as to me it just seemed too anal,  klunky and labor intensive. But in the end I got so bored with Photoshop and so dispirited with how dated my work seemed to be getting, that I junked Photoshop and embraced Illustrator. My introduction to it's wonders was actually a tutorial on a free CD on Computer Arts magazine and the half hour it took me to construct a Manga character, showed me just enough of the basics to have me up and running with the software.

The beautiful thing for me about Illustrator, is that from practically nothing in terms of a guide for your drawing, you can create razor sharp images, with beautiful vector dynamics (no nasty pixels here mate!) and the images can be magnified a hundredfold with no break down in sharpness. With gradation tools, transparency effects and a host of other simple but powerful tools you can create artwork which is always easy to tweak, twiddle and adjust, which makes it ideal for today's demanding clients who always have little comments and alterations which was rarely the case when everything was hand drawn back in the days of yore.

So here's a sample piece of artwork and here's the thing under magnification. Just look at those lines - no jaggedy bits and it all came from this under drawing, which itself was created in Manga Studio.


  1. great to see your art again Peter, i must learn up on manga studio , fab blog as usual.
    by the way i hope your doing a piece for the spirit of hope comic by the CBA edited by alan cowsill,your style would be perfect.

  2. Many thanks for the kind words Jon and I'll definitely check out The Spirit of Hope comic that you've flagged up.

    Hope the move went well and you are settling comfortably into the land of lava bread.

  3. Una ilustraciĆ³n perfecta, te felicito

  4. Marvelous! That foreshortened hand which grabs the reader's attention and draws him into the picture is pure comics, albeit a direct lineal descendant of Alfred Leete's iconic WW1 recruitment poster of Lord Kitchener. In this particular form I most associate it with Jack Kirby, though it would be interesting to trace it back to the very first instance of its use - possibly Burne Hogarth's Tarzan? Of course another outstanding artist who developed his own unique take on the pointing hand motif is Frank Bellamy, whose dynamic drawings of El Raschid pronouncing the judgement of Allah on Heros the Spartan could make the centre pages of Eagle look like one of those 3D foldouts!

  5. Many thanks chaps! You're all really too generous but you've made my day.

    Fortified by your kind words and fueled by a cup of tea I'm off again on the deadline bustin' mission of the century.