Illustration Process: Astronauts

This was my first attempt to create an illustration almost completely digitally!

I had the concept in place and needed to gather photo reference. In an attempt to be as accurate as humanly possible (on a limited budget, no less), I went to the local costume shop, rented an astronaut suit, and proceeded to jump off chairs, twisting and turning while a friend shot the photos. I had a lot of fun and got a workout! Win win!

Now that the reference was captured, I redrew the poses as pencil drawings.

The reason I do this is to:

1. Simplify the shapes

2. Decide what information to keep or lose

A camera captures all the details. An illustration only keeps what is necessary, leaving the rest to the viewer's imagination. This is part of what makes creating and viewing art so engaging!

The sketches have been scanned and imported into the iPad Pro. I begin working over the drawing with the Pencil, blocking in big shapes and adding details as the piece develops. Below is a video of my process for the central figure. Check it out!

The same process continues for the other two figures. I intentionally work in grayscale first to focus on solidifying the value structure. If the values don’t hold in grayscale, they certainly won’t hold in color. Working with both color and value at the same time is too much decision-making for me personally, so I like to break up the steps to keep the process simple and consistent.

Aside from the pencil underdrawing, this was the most digital piece I’ve done to date, and I’m very happy with it. Transitioning from traditional materials to the iPad Pro and Pencil was an incredibly smooth and intuitive process. Learning the program (Procreate) has been a challenge, but a good one. If you're looking to transition from traditional to digital, I highly recommend investing in this product.

Kindly reminder:

You're doing better than you think you are. Keep going!