Something we've learned through experience is that you can't sit down for half an hour and just pop out a great design. While there's a lot of stuff on social media or the web that is, frankly, amazing, it's also the product of a lot of hard work and practice. The people that make it look easy probably have ten crappy drawings for all the good ones. Sometimes the hardest part is just the beginning, when you have an empty canvas or blocks of colors that still...don't look like much.
One of our most popular designs is Muppet Science, so we thought we'd show you what it looked like as it came together. Step number one...inspiration! While we had an idea of what to put together...how will we actually draw it?
We wanted to do something with science and chemistry, and Beaker is named after these things after all so...it begins!
Once we found our base idea, we created a base image out of flattened line-work. This lets us take a 3D image like the one above, and turn it into a perfectly flat, symmetrical outline. Since this step ends up being the bones that we fill with color, it's important to settle on composition, line-weights, and just the general structure of the piece. It would be...very tiring if you saw something you needed to fix later on. It could mean redoing everything! So make sure the lines are how you like them before moving on.
You can see that things start off pretty simple.
Beaker doesn't even have hair! But we can make sure the spacing is right, lines look sharp, even just scribble in some color to see how we feel about it. Plenty of artists will trace familiar objects, outline faces, or generally use references to ensure that things feel solid before moving on to actually coloring a piece.
How full should each beaker be? Do the colors work together? Start getting the fundamental color theory settled and you'll have a good foundation to work from. Part of doing art based on something familiar like a show or movie is that a color scheme may be fairly set already. We didn't have to choose what colors to make our subjects, as we were using previously created character. We also had fun just immediately drawing Beaker. I mean come on, one of the most recognizable expressions ever, so fun to draw!
Once the flat colors are in, it's time to start adding supportive details!
After you start to get some of the flat colors in, make sure the composition works, and fiddle with the color theory a bit...you get to start playing a little more and adding details. More of your personal style is going to start leaking into the work here. How do you like to represent something? Your hand, and all the work you've put into it, will start to show it's colors (pun!) here. Part of the reason everyone says to practice practice practice is that when you're finally doing a showpiece, you'll just be able to get in your groove and be more comfortable creating.
Once you've got more of the details in...just keep seeing what fits! Add some shadows, play with bubbles, step back and see what makes it really pop or come together as a finished piece. We had a lot of fun drawing the fireworks for Sam Eagle, and getting Swedish Chef's hat to look groovy floating away on a bubble. Once you've gotten your work to this point, we recommend putting down the pen, and coming back after a day or two to glance at it. You'll see plenty of things you missed if you give yourself a break. Asking friends or family for opinions on what can be fixed up is also a good idea, but find your honest family members, not just the nice ones ;) You won't grow without genuine critique.
And once you finally declare it finished...get it out into the world for others to enjoy! Start a shop, make some stickers, just enjoy sharing your work. Hopefully you'll be proud of the things you create, and you can share that fire with others! Additionally, there is usually someone out there who'd like to really enjoy having your unique creation on a shirt or pillow just somewhere in their life, and if that helps pay for some groceries or lets you buy that cape for your pet cat, then everybody wins!
Good luck! And we hope you have an amazing time with your next artistic endeavor!