Update (June 27, 2011): View a more detailed tutorial for this illustration at Psdtuts.
I was recently commissioned to create characters and a logo for the Boomrock Saints. I will start with a step-by-step for the character illustration process and give a quick rundown of the process behind the logo.
The two characters in the band are Josh Camacho (left) with whom I worked previously in Mephisto Odyssey, his old group, and DJ Brian Williams (right), aka “Boomrock Brian”. Below are reference photos given to me by the guys. Josh mentioned that he wanted to keep the characters in a similar style and pose to the original characters from Mephisto Odyssey (originally drawn by Justin Orr) with the addition of a few accessories.
Step 1: Building the Foundation
I produce a loose sketch to build a foundation and get a feel for the the positioning of each character. How they look next to each other and how they look by themselves is important because the group is planning on using them separately on some occasions as well.
Step 2: Adding in Details
I go over some of the lines and add in some details. At this point, the characters are starting to take shape and we can get a good idea of the style and personality of each character. I still keep everything rough at this stage.
Step 3: Coloring
I roughly block in the characters and test out various color schemes. The guys wanted something “guerilla” so naturally I went with earth tones. Also, I sent the guys the first sample at this point and the response was positive. I got the approval to move on.
Step 4: Cleaning Up
Now it’s time for the clean up process. I set the previous layer at a low opacity and basically trace over the lines with a brush and pen using my pen’s pressure to vary the weight of the lines and taper the necessary points.
Quick Tips on Line Weights
1) Create an illusion of depth. If an object or person is closer to you, the lines will generally be thicker. So, if this drawing had a background of a cityscape, the lines that make up the cityscape would be thinner than the lines of the character.
2) Pay attention to the light source. Wherever the light is hitting, the lines will generally be thinner. Wherever the light isn’t hitting, the lines will generally be thicker.
3) The outer-most lines of any object or person will generally be thicker than the lines within. This is to help define that object or person apart from the others.
4) Widen the end points of lines that get cut off by another line. Take a look at the image above to see what I mean.
Step 5: Finalizing the Colors
I add a separate layer for each color and color in the drawing.
Step 6: Rendering
Now comes my favorite part. I add in the light sources, shadows, highlights, and other embellishments such as the San Francisco logo on the hat, the Boomrock Saints logo on the shirt, and the tattoo on the upper arm.
Step 7: Finishing Touches
After seeing the entire illustration completed, the group asked if Brian could be “beefed up” a bit to reflect more of his natural self.
I made some quick adjustments and widened the body a bit, adding a bit of definition to the right arm. Below is the final design.
Regarding the logo, the guys had a general idea already in mind. They wanted a mark for BRS that looked like it was melded together—much like the Tron logo. I played around with a few different fonts as I usually do and produced some concepts but none were to my liking. Ultimately, I decided that a mark completely custom and built from scratch would be a better approach. I created a few archs and diagonals in various angles and put them together piece-by-piece to form the letters BRS. Here is a shot of the logo with the guides to give you an idea of how I went about this.