Making Of 'Jamukha, Got Milk?'
This artwork is my humorous take on the "Why do aliens abduct cows?" question. The illustration is a vector art completely done with Abode Illustrator CS2. Here I am going to explain the techniques I used in the creation of "Jamukha, Got Milk?", in full detail.
The first stage was to trace the outline (Fig.01). I then colour-filled the drawing; this was to be the colour direction for the illustration (Fig.02). I made this tutorial in three parts; the first part discusses the creation of Jamukha, the second part covers the flying saucer, and third the background...Enjoy!
Part 1: Illustrating Jamukha
Note: Before applying any effects to your object, be sure to always make a copy of the original drawing in separate layers; this is handy for whenever you need to use the same shape again!
The first thing I did was to remove the black outline from the drawing. I then started my image with the eyes, which I normally do in all my portrait drawings. For this one I chose the Mesh tool (shortcut key "U"). I applied a white highlight to both eyes, as shown (Fig.03).
I applied a radial gradient, from black to blue, for the iris (Fig.04). Black was then added for the pupil (Fig.05). And finally, a specular highlight of a white circle was added for the finishing touch - and the eyes were done (Fig.06)! To set the eyes in place on the face, I created a dark pink to light pink gradient for the eye-bags. You can also save the gradient by dragging the colour fill onto the swatch window (Fig.07).
I then started work fleshing out the face and tummy (Fig.08). I prepared colour palettes that were to be used for the highlights, shadows and dark areas of the gradient mesh (press "U" to activate your gradient mesh). I then coloured the nodes of the mesh on the left side with the highlight colour; mid-tones are on the right, and darker tones on the corners. Here is the result of mesh colouring (Fig.08). This technique is very easy to use but requires a lot of memory, so I refrain from using it as much as possible.
I applied the mesh on the eye mask (Fig.09a). I pasted it below the eye-bags; this gave depth and a slight "meanness" to his rather boring face.
Tip: To place a shape over or under another shape, cut the object you want to paste (or Ctrl + X), choose the object or group of objects, and then press Ctrl + B to paste below the object or group of objects. Press Ctrl + F to paste on top of the object or group of objects (Fig.09b).
To create the pattern of warts, I first of all created a circle shape and added a white-to-pink radial gradient (Fig.10). I reshaped the circle, as shown, and spread it randomly (Fig.11). I selected the shapes and dragged the selection onto the swatch window. This automatically added to the pattern swatches! From my preserved drawing, I copied the face and tummy and applied the new wart pattern (Fig.12). I then set the shape's Transparency to "Multiply". Here is the blending result (Fig.12).
At this point I created a custom brush. Typically, whenever I make an illustration in Adobe Illustrator I also customise my brushes. Here's a simple way to do it: create an elliptical shape with black colour fill, and then press F5 to activate the Brushes window (Fig.13). Now drag and drop the ellipse on to the Brushes window. Set the New Brush to "New Art Brush" in the option window, and then hit OK (Fig.14). Another window will then pop-up. In the Art Brush Options window, set Colourisation Method to "Tints". This allows you to choose any colour for the outline of the brush. If you set it to "None" then it will just be in black, or the default colour of the brush (Fig.15).
Here I drew the lines on the faces, as shown (Fig.16). The ellipse brush gave me thick and thin lines, as shown in the image. I drew a new shape and placed it under the mouth and teeth. This separated the head from the stomach. I then added a gradient fill and set the dark pink gradient Transparency to Colour Burn, and the opacity to 73% (Fig.17).
Colouring the body, I followed the same process as for the face and tummy, only this time I changed the colour of the body to a slightly reddish pink. Basically I was trying to achieve a jelly-like or candle-like substance, making him a wobbly-looking character; the result of long distance space travel, (and hence he needs milk to strengthen his bones!) (Fig.18).
I added a darker colour to his coiled tail (Fig.19).
The same process was used again here, but this time with softer and vanishing edges on the patterns (Fig.20). Here's how I created a vanishing edge for the wart pattern. First of all I copied the shape of the base object and set the wart pattern. I made another copy of the same object and pasted it on top of the wart pattern, and then this time I colour-filled with a black and white gradient. I then selected the wart pattern and the black and white gradient object (Fig.21). In the Transparency window, in the top right corner, I clicked the arrow which revealed some options. With the pattern and gradient selected together, I chose "Make Opacity Mask" (Fig.22). The resulting image below was the black side of the gradient masked, while the white part was being shown (Fig.23). I combined the masked pattern with the base object, and I then had a nice effect of a jelly-looking surface. Without the gradient masking, the patterns would be too solid-looking (Fig.24).
For the dark hands, I copied the original drawing cut the hands out, as shown, and applied a gradient colour. I set the shape's Transparency to "Multiply" (Fig.25). I applied the same principle to the body, but simply changed the colour of the horns. Here is a subsurface-scattering-like effect - a term they use with regards to 3D renderings (Fig.26). I applied the gradient mesh on the spikes down his back (Fig.27). A gradient mesh was also used for the shoulder pad (Fig.28), as well as on the bone showing above his head (Fig.29).
The glass of milk also used a gradient mesh (Fig.30), but the teeth only had a regular gradient applied (Fig.31).
To finalise the effect, I set about applying some hard-edged shadows. I set the colour filled-object to multiply and the opacity to 40%, just for some soft coloured shadows (Fig.32).
Last but not least, a white colour-filled shape was added: the milk moustache (Fig.33). Got milk?
I decided to make the saucer in a metallic blue colour, again using a mesh gradient (Fig.34). The same process was used for the bottom of the saucer, with blue highlights in the middle to reflect the beam of light (Fig.35). To add lights to the mid-section, I selected the first light, held down Alt + Shift whilst dragging, and then released. After the first copy was made, I pressed Ctrl + D to make a copy array (Fig.36).
Adding line at the bottom-most part, I drew five lines and then pressed "W" for Blend tool. I wanted to blend the lines from the first line to the last; I set 4 for spacing and then pressed OK (Fig.37). The Blend tool created rows of lines, according to the shapes (Fig.38).
I added a saucer hood (Fig.39). I used a mesh gradient and added a highlight on the top area, and black on the bottom (Fig.40). I added 13 circular holes on the hood and then pressed Alt + Ctrl + M to create an envelope mesh. I then inputted 2 for the rows and 1 for the columns. This produced nodes control, where I reshaped the group of holes to fit the hood shape (Fig.41).
I created the jelly-like steering wheel using a mesh gradient (Fig.42). For the switch board, I used the basic colour gradient.
I used a fish bowl as a reference for the glass dome. This was again created using a mesh gradient. The proper placement of the highlights, mid-tones and shadows were the key elements in achieving the glass surface! I created the outer dome by enlarging the inner dome and applying a white-to-black gradient (Fig.43).
The antennae lights were created using the Blend tool and setting the transparency to "Screen" with a white outer glow (Fig.44). The Glow effect is located in Effects > Stylised > Outer glow.
To create the retractable cable arm, I made a segment and then dragged and dropped it onto the Brushes window. I set the New Brush option to "New Pattern Brush" and set the Colouration to "None" (Fig.45). I tried to apply the "Cable" brush to the curve (Fig.46). Since I created the cable brush, it was ready for the retractable saucer cable arm (Fig.47). I applied the cable brush to the outline. For the saucer's "arm hole", I used a normal gradient fill (Fig.48).
Preparing the cow, I removed the outline and prepared the colour palette (Fig.49). Again, the gradient mesh used my preset colour palette. The gradient mesh was effective because I knew exactly where to place the highlights and shadows in my cow illustration (Fig.50).
The light beam was created using the Blend tool (Fig.51). After I created the additional outer beam shape, I pressed "W" to call the Blend tool. I then selected 30 for the Specified Steps. Finally, I added an outer glow in white. I wanted the cow to have a blue silhouette, so I used the blue gradient colour fill, as shown (Fig.52).
The image was nearly complete at this stage; the next and final stage was the background (Fig.53).
Part 3: Illustrating the Background
Instead of creating a blue night-time sky, I turned it into hues of grey for a mystical effect. Here I set the colour palette of the background (Fig.54). I used a gradient mesh on the sky with a black zenith, blue horizon and a grey ground fog. I added a grassy ground using the Wrinkle tool from the tool bar. The effects of the distortion are shown in (Fig.55). I then added a black-to-white gradient, and set the Transparency to "Soft Light" and the opacity to 50% (Fig.56).
The clouds were a little tricky; I wanted it to have the same colour as for the background, so I colour-picked the background colour and applied the gradient mesh using my preset cloud colour palette (Fig.57). Here is the result of the blending of subtle clouds on to the sky (Fig.58).
To create the stars, I made a white circle object and then on the tool bar I chose Effect > Stylize > Outer Glow. With the Outer Glow option, I chose "Screen" mode. After the shape was set I dragged it to the Symbol window and renamed it to "stars" (Fig.59).
On the tool bar I chose Symbol Spray (shortcut "S"). I sprayed it randomly on the zenith sky. I made the stars in random sizes by clicking and holding the Symbol Spray button down; this will bring up a few more options - from which I chose Symbol Sizer Tool. Selecting the stars and spraying with Symbol Sizer Tool made the stars much bigger; holding down the Alt key would make them smaller (Fig.60).
Here is the final starry sky, created using the Symbol Spray. And with this, the illustration is complete!
Here is the final illustration of "Jamukha, Got Milk?" (Fig.61).
Thank you very much everyone for reading this article; I hope you have picked up some tips and techniques in using Adobe Illustrator from all this. For more digital painting tutorials please visit my website.