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Steve Wacksman
Howdeye Doodat?
posted:
Thanks for the gig, Nickelodeon Magazine.
Apart from my ability to wriggle through a keyhole and shoot armor piercing lasers from my baby blue eyes, my third most mesmerizing talent is illustration. No matter where I roam, people stand in awe of the rich and colorful tapestries I weave out of nothing more than a cupful of imagination and a handful of determination. How, they ask, did you do that?  They often assume some witchcraft is involved.

In order to dispell this notion, I offer you a rare and priveliged look behind the curtain. As it were- there's actually no curtain involved.
Here's a vignette that depicts a young man finding out his services as an actor are no longer required.

The designer I worked with, Catherine Tutrone, had this idea in mind and described the scene to me when she contacted me. Any excuse to draw a critter, that's my motto. I cheerfully accepted. She gave me dimensions, etc, and turned me loose.

First, pencils. In this case I concentrated mostly on the central image, figuring I'd build the scene around it.
Once satisfied with the pencil sketch, I scan it in and open it in Adobe brand Illustrator. I trace the important shapes and delineate colors. Also here I work out my layout with simple, blocky shapes.
The "Sketch"
After reaching a satisfactory composition, I open the document in Adobe brand Photoshop. I ice the cake with some scrawlings on the trusty Wacom tablet, then flatten the whole shebang. This is shipped off via electronic mail to the client ( in this case Ms Tutrone) for her notes.
Once the sketch is approved, I refine the illustrator paths until fully satisfied. I'll then print out a low res copy and ink all linework on a vellum overlay. My preferred ink is made from the spittle of Madagascar's giant fruit bat, but in a pinch FW Waterproof will do the trick.
Lastly, the whole shebang is sandwiched together in Photoshop . I'll keep everything layered so I can fidget with colors and add some texture. And, of course, I'll sacrifice a goat on a marble dias while wearing a mask made of corn husks and gopher teeth. Brings the whole thing together nicely.
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