Rockabilly Guy

It’s a bit of an illustration cliché that the most enjoyable work tends to be the least rewarding financially. Ask any illustrator and the majority will confirm the truth of this inversely proportional relationship.

There was a fine example of this phenomenon just recently when I was approached out of the blue by an Italian Rockabilly fanzine (who knew?) with the rather wonderful title ‘Dog Eat Robot’. The publisher, Toni, from Modena, was a fan of the British rockabilly trio The Long Tall Texans and the artwork I did for them back in the day (see this earlier post for details!) and wanted to know if I could produce a cover for the next issue of their ‘zine, which would be featuring an article on the band. Needless to say, like all fanzines, this one is a labour of love and runs on a shoestring budget but I’ve always had an enormous affection for this genre of music and the fashion and culture surrounding it (although I never had enough hair to be an active participant!) so without much hesitation I agreed to do it at radically reduced rockabilly rates!

The content was pretty much up to me but there were references to spaceships, 50s sic-fi and lost planets in our email exchanges so that set the theme. It was great fun to work with such an open brief and I’m sure it comes across in the final piece. Toni seemed happy anyway; the fanzine will be out in January – check out their Facebook page for details (as well as a plethora of links to some great music and videos).

Here it is, with a little bit of ‘process’ thrown in for good measure:

Rough sketch produced on the Cintiq in SketchBook Pro.
Rough sketch produced on the Cintiq in SketchBook Pro.
Still in SketchBook Pro; rough sketch layer opacity reduced and black line drawing produced on layers above, using customised brush tool. Each character / item is drawn on its own separate layer – hence the noticeable overlaps at this stage.
Still in SketchBook Pro; rough sketch layer opacity reduced and black line drawing produced on layers above, using customised brush tool. Each character / item is drawn on its own separate layer with a view to ease of editing further down the line – hence the noticeable overlaps at this stage.
DogEatRobot-Linework
Rough sketch layer switched off. Each drawn component is now opened individually in Illustrator and vectorised using Live Trace before being assembled, again in layers, for final treatment.
Here's the final piece, assembled and finished off in Illustrator. Normally this would involve colour but the fanzine is published in black & white so this was rendered in greyscale only. Note certain details such as guitar strings, patterned surfaces, highlights etc are added at this stage for the sake of convenience, control, clarity and general editability.
Here’s the final piece, assembled and finished off in Illustrator. Normally this would involve colour but the fanzine is published in black & white so this was rendered in greyscale only. Note certain details such as guitar strings, patterned surfaces, highlights etc are added at this stage for the sake of convenience, control, clarity and general editability.

A colour version is in the pipeline!

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