Here are some wobbly and out of focus progress photos from a recent illustration in the giant spirit bears of California series. This one has taken a rather ferocious turn for the worse - I'll explain tomorrow when I blog the final artwork. For now you can see my shitty sketch work evolve into a nearly finished illustration. I'm down to my last non-photo blue pencil and I've had to resort to taping the nub to another pencil to get the last inch or so out of it. Things are bleak...
First up some rough positional sketches for overall composition. I really should include the very early concept sketches - they're hilariously bad but you can just about make out what I'm trying to achieve. It's just like me to start on the hardest and most focal point of the illustration before I've got my eye in too...
I was happy with the way the mouth came out but not so happy I'd thrown in some feral fur going in a different direction on the face - it actually turned out okay in the end but I considered starting again at this point. The police bus came out really well - I nearly snuck a school bus in instead but felt that even my good bear turned bad wouldn't be that bad...
Penciled in some more background. The buildings are referenced from some of my Californian photos - I think this is somewhere around North Beach but can't totally remember.
More inking - I put the chest shading to remind myself this area should be a bit more concentrated/darker than the rest but it gets lost in translation.
More inking of the buildings. Throughout this bear series I've tried to reign the detail in a little bit by my own standards and keep the illustrations cleaner but with this one I just went balls out and threw everything I had at it. It's usually just my tactic to cover up for poor rendering!
Added the flipped car ink with substantial gashes. Ahem.
Started inking the Italian restaurant.
Finished inking the bear.
And the finished illustration - apologies this is the worst photo of the bunch. I purposely left out the telephone wires as I thought if I inked them the lines would be too heavy so I did them on trace to layer up later.