I’m about to give a breakdown of this New York Knicks/Carmelo Anthony pic (drawn in 2014) from its conception in my head to its final production on paper. There’s more pre-planning than anything else going on when it comes to making these collages. Here’s the breakdown below.
First thing I did, even before putting any tools on paper, was think about the idea for this pic for weeks in advance. I had googled a pic of Carmelo with his hands on his head and knew that it would be the backbone of this poster. The whole concept was to show the weight of New York on Melo’s shoulder over the guidance of Phil Jackson. If you’re following the NBA at all, you know what I’m talking about. I had to get a free weekend to get this piece done. I think I did it on a Saturday in maybe 6-8 hours straight while watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Netflix.
The first thing I do with these pics is form a layout. I usually use photoshop to cut out pics and scale them on a predetermined size. There’s also a grid feature on photoshop that I use as a reference for what I’ll put on paper. The grid method is used to make sure that what I’m drawing off the computer is in the same place on paper. It’s much easier to show this method than explaining it; it’s something that can be youtube’d. The first pic below shows how I initially drew Carmelo.
At this point of the drawing I didn’t know what I was going to do with Phil Jackson. I had no idea if I was going to do a layout of New York City and how the pic was going to get finished. This happens a lot…I’ll get half a concept done, take a break, and then figure out how to finish the rest. The drawings develop with time. So I took to google and looked for pictures of Phil. I knew I wanted a side profile and when I found the right one, I plugged it into photoshop into the position I wanted and drew it out.
The New York Skyline was from a clipart pic that came from google. Easy to find. I just drew it out the way I needed to. The next step involved making a moon over the skyline. Initially I was going to leave it white, but when I googled the Knicks logo I saw a circular one that fit perfectly in the moon silhouette. Next up I filled in the black sky and took a little break.
This is the point where I transfer the file from paper to digital in order to do the colouring. There are times where I just go photocopy the sheet and colour it with markers, but I wanted to try something different, I didn’t have my markers with me, and I was too lazy to draw out the city in the background lol.
I scanned the pic and fixed in up on the computer. This means I fixed the black and white levels to take out smudges and whatever else the scanner caught. I then transferred the file onto my iPad (through dropbox) and uploaded it on my main drawing app, Procreate.
Quick sidenote on Procreate: it costs $6 and its one of the easiest apps to use. If you’re interested in art at all and you want something to use on the go, this is the best app in my opinion. I’ve used Sketchbook Pro, but that one is better on a computer then an iPad.
Next up was the colouring. I’m not the greatest painter, but I am learning on the fly pretty well. Whatever I don’t know I either catch on google or just follow people on Instagram who are better than me. I started with Melo, coloured the jersey and the skin, and used a low opacity brush technique for the first time to get the shadows right. This just means that every paint stroke gets darker every time you go over the same spot. Then I coloured Phil Jackson in black and white and fixed the sky, making sure there were no white spots in the skyline.
Next I transferred the file right back into photoshop. Procreate added a feature this year that lets you export files in .psd format, which I took full advantage of. I added the Knicks logo in the moon silhouette and found a nice picture of New York to put in the background. I put some effects on it to make it look blue-gray-ish and then that was it. I took a step back to look for any mistakes and that was it. Once the pic was done it automatically became my phone background because I thought it was dope as hell.
That was it. The pic was done. I later made prints for myself and recently posted the print for sale on my site at theroyceproject.bigcartel.com. The process to complete this pic was similar to the process for all the NBA style pics I’ve done. Every time I do a drawing I try to do something different just to keep things interesting.
I’ll see you all on the next breakdown of one of my drawings.