Tina’s birthday was fast approaching, and I didn’t have a rock solid, hysterically funny idea for a card so I decided to revisit a friend from last year’s anniversary card, Cosmic, Maaaannnnnn!
I did the sketch above during my commute to and from work on the Market-Frankford El in a hard-bound sketchbook that I was cursing last week. A subway train sounds like a terrible place to try to get any decent drawing done, but it’s not that bad. The car shakes and rocks as it goes over the tracks which is all right for roughing out the sketch that I do in either a 0.9mm red or indigo blue mechanical pencil. When the train stops at a station, it gives me the opportunity to refine the lines. It’s not the optimal sketching studio, but I enjoy it, and the ideas seem to flow in the morning. I refine stuff on my way home.
I couldn’t possibly ink the sketch on the train, so I took it home to my drawing table to do that. I used Pigma markers and the fabulous Pentel Pocket Brush which is a tactile joy to use rather than struggle with my Wacom digitizing tablet. The only problem I create for myself is that the mechanical pencil leads I use are tough to erase. I end up doing some clean-up in Photoshop once the inked drawing is scanned.
I then colored the scan of the inked drawing in Photoshop. This is the basic, flat colored version of Cosmic, Maaaannnnnn with a temporary background on a separate layer so I could see what I was doing.
I’m not going to attempt to do anything close to an exhaustive tutorial on digital coloring. There are a ton of articles, posts and videos on the subject done much better than I could. There’s also a number of different approaches, so look around, and see what fits.
My counterculture cosmonaut has a solidly colored shirt in the above image, and I fully intended on giving him some tie dye, but I wanted to do something a little different from the anniversary card. The basis of my tie dye pattern is an excellent tutorial which you may find HERE!
I started out with the spectrum, ROYGBIV stripes, but I figured it would look too much like the previous edition of the character. So I decided to invert the colors.
Not the same, boring, old rainbow, but something a little different. Maybe a little harsh, and it looks like the 1970s threw up, but I was going to press ahead with the rest of the steps of the tutorial and see how it went. Some distortion filters; some smudging; some of the liquefy filter, and voila.
Cosmic, Maaaannnnnn has some new threads!
Ultimately, what I wanted to do here is create my space hippie with the ink and colors and no background so I could drop him into and move him around a separate space scene that I had cobbled together from a few tutorials and some of my own experimentation.
Some positioning and a little repositioning; some specialized brushes; some layer effects; some lettering; several layers, and Cosmic, Maaaannnnnn is BACK spanning the spaceways!