As of today, I’ve got three of these now. My ultimate goal is to create one for every major city I’ve been to (or have connected with in some sort of way); however, that is a lot of cities, so this may be an ongoing, years in the making type series. One at a time…one at a time. Also, I’m always adding things to the shop, so check it out http://society6.com/sketchbookjack #metropolis #illustrationFriday
There is big news for SketchbookJack. An interactive iPad ebook app is currently in the works. The first app will be “The Island and the Plough.” All the bold, black and white illustrations will come to life with animations, a narrator, and even an apple-catching mini-game. I don’t want to spoil too much, so stay tuned and I’ll post a few more screenshots.
I’ve been waiting for a while now to share this with you, and since the producer has released the art I can show it now. This was a great project to work on and it will be printed on limited edition 7″ vinyl no less! I was given the lyrics of the song and came up with some characters and symbolism. There will also be art to see for the back sleeve and the inside vinyl label itself but those are yet to be released. Here you can find DeFacto Entertainment and Raw Product. Below is the final front cover and some work in progress, making of’s so you can see how the layout, the sketch and ink process.
For those of you who have been following me for a long time, you may remember the “Cats Are Aliens” doodles I did on napkins or perhaps you have seen them popping up on Instagram. I found those drawings, scanned them and gave them some new life. I’ll continue to collect them here in this gallery as I finish each one. Enjoy!
Ultraswing, the UK gypsy jazz band has just released their next album, “Jouez,” for which I did the album art work. This was a great project to work on, especially for developing some fun characters, interesting vignettes and scenes. They wanted to go with the idea of a speak-easy style jazz club featuring the full ensemble as well as all the characters that go along with that type of lounge. As soon as I receive my copies in the mail, I will be sure to post some photos of the product as well. There are interior panels and the disc itself, as well. If you like jazz, and especially gypsy style jazz, in the vein of Django Reinhardt you should certainly check them out and give them a listen; plus, they are super cool cats.
I have the first actual printed proof of “The Island and the Plough,” on its way to me. I am awaiting eagerly for it to arrive. This puts me ever so close to the finish line for this project. Meanwhile, I also am working with a friend who is a developer to release an App version of the book with some fun interactive tid-bits and animation. I hope to have that out soon after the print release. The above is again, just a nerdy digital book mock up, but I will be able to finally post an actual photo soon!
Here is a sneak peek into the process behind one of The Daily Mobster characters and a quick tutorial/explanation of how I work and how to design a character.
1. I, of course, start with a sketch which are usually smaller thumbnails on a scrap paper until I find an acceptable shape and basic look. Because of the nature of mobster characters this often revolves around exaggerated features or an interesting shape. This rule works pretty well for non mobsters as well. If you can create a silhouette or a shape that is instantly recognizable to that character you are already on our way to great design.
2. Then I do the light sketch with all the details fleshed out; this allows me to give a little extra focus to certain areas like hands, belts, buttons, or others that need extra attention. This is also the step where you can focus on contrast, as it is the first thing the human eye notices, it is important to decide where heavy blocks of color/black will be and where dense detail will be. A general rule of thumb, when certain areas are very large in area (such as a belly or a chin) give them less detail as their size will attract attention, and when they are smaller or require extra focus fill in the detail (faces, hands, accessories of interest). Use the lines and shapes to help direct attention as well, notice the tie points to the chin and continues the crevasse in his chin.
3. Then I simply start inking over the pencil. Sometimes I ink over the entire drawing with a single width then fill the blacks and weight the lines afterwards and other times I do the complete process little chunks at a time (as seen here) moving across the drawing. The contrast between full black, white with hatching/textures, and full white is very important in a black and white illustration; luckily suits play a big part in the mobster world. If the background is dark, realize that a heavy black suit will act as a subtle part of the character and his face will stand out. If the character has dark skin, often you want to put him in lighter color costumes, unless his environment will be mostly light. I usually try to balance out the black and the white to create a focal points.
4. Once completed, I erase the pencil lines that poke out.
5. The final step is to bring the scan into the computer. Since the original ink is fairly clean there isn’t really any digital treatment of the character itself other than to overlay it on one of my backgrounds and apply some simple shadowing/lighting effects behind him. I hand draw the background designs as well (I may post a tutorial about how to make repeating wallpapers from drawings like this) in line format, then scan them in, convert them to white and overlay them on grey repeatedly. Tommy will be posted on Thursday, so be sure to check out The Daily Mobster and read his story.