Skwigly banner - Monkey in space Illustration

Recently, I was invited by the lovely guys and girls over at, to produce an illlustrated/ animated banner for their site, for the month of August. For those that don't know, Skwigly is an online animation news magazine, where you can find all the latest and greatest in news and updates from the global animation community. They nuture new talent with their Skwigly showcase iniatives and also produce one of the best and most informative animation podcasts around. 


So do check out there work: Here


So, the task of making the banner above started with the brief, or lack thereof. The only restriction placed upon me was the limitation of the size and ratio that the piece must be. 

I kicked off with some ideas generation. This involves alot of being annoyed, throwing things about and shouting at walls. I start doodling out some thumbnails, free thinking and just getting my pen moving. I do my thumbnails on paper as controlling a wacom tablet in a drawing that small becomes difficult.

At one stage I went from pirates to dragons and back again, assasin's and other nosense, before I settled on the monkey here. See the original thumbnail, top left.


At this point I take it digital, drawing up the detailed sketch inside photoshop. It can be difficult again with the inaccuracy of control with a wacom tablet, but I find the freedom of editing that working digitally gives me is worth the extra effort. At this point I'm thinking mostly about character design and composition. I'm thinking about the attitude of the monkey that I want, it's within this gaze that the story of the character hopefully comes across.


Working quickly, once everything is set, I block in simple colours to get an idea of the colour scheme and how the background will play against the monkey. I ended up painting this piece much darker than I had suggested with my original colours.


After this, most of the actual brain work has been done, it's just a case of painting up the rest of the piece, looking at the tonal gradients that occur as the light falls across the objects in the scene and how the colours differ from the light to the shadows. 


Once the basic forms are fully painted I add the finishing touches with some photo texutres in the metals and furs in the piece, making sure not to overwhelm the painting with too much heavy texture, and not using it as a crutch, but reather an embelishment and polish.

Monkey in space illustration

Thanks for dropping by everyone. This piece was a blast to paint. And thanks again to Skwigly for letting me take a pop at it. I think overall I'm happy with how it came out, what do you think?

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Comments: 1
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