Work In Progress: Our Lady of Mystery

Our in-house artist Nathan Davis brings us a masterpiece with his “Our Lady of Mystery” design. Nathan has produced quality designs for RIPT for years now and this is without a doubt, another great design from his creative mind. Take a look!

1. Initial sketch

This is one of the few times my initial sketch is coloured, mostly because I had an idea about how I wanted to incorporate her skirt colours into a veil. Velma here is sketched out more in my own anime-ish person style, but…

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2. Reworked (digital) pencils sketch

…Dealing in pop parodies and tip o’ the hats, there’s only so far to stray before she becomes less recognisable. The new sketch takes cues from the fantastic Mystery Inc. series, and looks more like her geek-icon self. Her hands are a bit too big. Argh. I’ll need to fix that. Gave her a slightly tattoo inspired ribbon title, too – not standard for the sacred heart theme, but it feels like it fits.

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3. Inks

Well, the font doesn’t fit. I’ll change that. It’s a bit too tattoo looking, and it’s not following the ribbon properly. Her hands are smoother, and Velma’s mouth has a more cat-like curve to it. My sketches tend to be very angular, and inking is where I try to reign in the jaggedness and smooth things out. I’ll more often than not Ink it in Illustrator. But I want her colours to be more painterly, so the Illustrator linework is copied and pasted into Photoshop.

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4: Flat colours

Colour blocks! Under the ink layer are splotchy, but solid chunks of colour. The ones I pick at this point aren’t the final selection. But they’re guides to help me figure out the basic colours I’ll need, and try to reduce the colour count by figuring out what works, what mixes, and what might not be necessary.

We have a limited number of screens to print colours through per shirt, and one needs to be used to make an underbase (hence my little “+1” note) on darker apparel. If the blue was only going to be used on her glasses, I’d look at getting rid of it and maybe leaving them white. Fortunately, the inking lines are thick and bold, so they become part of the shirt, and save us a screen.

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5: Shading and texture

After tweaking the colours closer to what I need and picking out pantone inks (I’ve noticed my “go to” for caucasian skin colour is 474), Ms. Dinkley’s looking warmer and brighter. Between the flat colours and the inks there are layers of colour to help shade and give her some depth. And behind all of it, that 474 colour is used as a soft, light brown halo. Colour layers neeeeeeeeeed to stay separate for shirts, it makes the halftoning process to make them print ready much, much easier.

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6: Finishing touches

And we’re done! A few extra details added in, a glow to the magnifying glass, and a blown up starburst brush behind her. She doesn’t offer eternal blessings so much as the knowledge that it was really OLD MAN SMIGGENS ALL ALONG! He was running the haunted amusement park!

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