Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Behind the Scenes: Ghostbusters!

BEHIND THE SCENES is where we take a look at the early steps taken to create the finished artwork featured on PixelReason. I will always try to include some insights as to why I made certain creative decisions during the process leading to completion and also share some of the techniques I used to create the piece featured.

Materials/Process : 
This piece was originally created with a traditional drawing pencil (hb grade lead) on a 9x12 sheet of sketch paper. Then I used a Pilot Precise v7 (fine tip) Rolling Ball pen to ink the Ghostbusters logo (you'll notice the grey lines are all still pencil. Only the logo was inked). This was to help the logo stand out if I needed additional ways to make it "pop" later on.

Since this request was going to be used for a cellphone wall paper (portrait wallpaper) and a laptop wallpaper (laptop wallpaper), it had to be laid out to look good on both types of layouts. A cellphone has a very small screen so keeping it simple and "readable" is always the first rule. So the Ghostbusters logo was clearly going to be the main focus for that wallpaper. So for the laptop wallpaper version, I simply extended the left side and added more to the "story." I chose to extend the left side because most people view images from left to right. Meaning that whatever is on the right tends to be what the viewer's eyes ultimately settle on. So the logo was positioned to be what gives the piece its weight.

(click on image for larger view)

Then the image was scanned and brought into Photoshop. That's where I digitally painted the piece with a Wacom tablet.
First I laid out the majority of the colors without touching the line work. This was so that I knew I'd be happy with the color choices and lighting before I began committing to the choices by painting over the lines as well. (in this type of piece, the line work is never the final word. It's just an initial blueprint). Once I decided that I was happy with all the color and lighting choices, I began painting over the line work as well. This image is half way through this process:
(click on image for larger view)
Finishing touches:
- To create more balance, I moved the Statue of Liberty a little more to the left (making it a little more centered relative to the StayPuft Marshmallow Man and the Ghostbusters Logo).
- Dark spots were made darker and light spots were made, you guessed it, brighter. This helped make the piece look more dramatic.
- The overall size of the piece was intentionally created larger than the requested (final) size so that I could choose how to crop the artwork into a positioning that I preferred for the final version.
- Repainted the moon to look a little more 3-dimensional
-Added small "lens flares" at the tips of each of the Ghostbusters' guns. Lens flares are great, but you always have to use them in moderation or you'll go from "cool" to "cheesy" faster than you can say "powder blue tux."
- Moved my signature to a spot that looks better for the overall composition.

Point of interest:
*Musical notes next to the Statue of Liberty (if you don't know why, then please watch the Ghostbusters movies again)
* Ecto-1 license plate (getting little details like that right are an absolute must for me)
* Removed the goggles from Egon's head (you can see it in the original pencil drawing) because his signature funny hair is really a trademark for that character.

The final piece:
(click on image for larger view)

If there's more questions or things you'd like to see from these Behind the Scenes, leave it in the comments below!


  1. hey, have you taken thread down from xda???

  2. Hi Jakhicks,
    Rest assured, I haven't taken down the thread. There's new art coming soon and all will be right with the world again. I'm working on making sure you guys have plenty more art to come for the foreseeable future.