Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Office Mates

Every office has one-- one of those weird guys who walks around mumbling to himself all day.

But what if he's not mumbling to himself? What if he's really talking to someone... or some thing? What if you could see what he sees? 

This was a tough one. Drawing the figures was pretty easy and straightforward, but that background caused me lots of grief. I couldn't decide what to do with it. Should it be just a patch of color? An actual office background? If so, how detailed should it be? Would simple cubicle shapes suggest an office, or did I need to draw desks and chairs as well? How could I keep the figures from blending into the background?

I was just about to give up on the office idea and add a plain old colored rectangle, when I decided to try superimposing a grunge texture over the background. That did it! It deemphasized the background and made the figures pop.

If you look closely you'll see the monster figures are slightly transparent, implying that they may or may not be real.

The Office Mates were drawn in Photoshop on the graphic tablet.

Here's the original sketchbook doodle of the office mates. I drew the little monsters just to fill up space on the page. When I was scanning the drawing into Photoshop, I decided to leave them in and make them part of the drawing. 

And here's the tighter digital sketch I did. Notice that in the sketch his giant third eye had visible lids. As so often happens, things that work in a sketch just don't work in the final version. I tried and tried to get his eyelids to work, and finally gave up and just drew a big lidless eye. I've learned by now that if you're spending hours and hours on something and it's still not working, your drawing is trying to tell you something. Namely, try something else!

Also note that in both sketches the office guy had tentacles coming out of his back. In the interest of full disclosure I actually forgot to draw them in the final illustration. When I finally realized I'd forgotten them, I decided I like the tentacle-less look better, and left it alone.

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