From Sketch to Finish – Hatbox Squid

A small intro.  Time Squid is my first ever copyrighted design and from his initial sketch I can create any type of squid character I like…kind of like a stencil.  For this particular squid I was feeling a bit nostalgic.  I love going to Disney World and love the history surrounding it.  Once, I saw this video on a missing ghost from The Haunted Mansion ride which was taken out because the effect didn’t really work.  It was of a ghost holding a hatbox and as the light went out his head appeared in the hat box.  I was hooked and even more excited that they recently brought the ghost back.  So, I decided to design a print and here is how I made him.

After making a raw sketch, I scanned it into the computer at about 300 dpi since you want that high resolution.  Once, I used to clean up the images and just used the sketch but I felt that vectoring all of them would give a more coloring page look, making them crisp.  So I took the image straight into Illustrator.


Once here, I opened up a carbon vector of Time Squid which I use on all of the squids.  Then, I just deleted what was covered or altered.  I started to draw in with the pen tool and pencil the cape.  I normally don’t mess around with brushes but I was coloring this whole piece so I wanted depth especially for the eyes.  I simply used the default brushes which work just fine for me.

Sketch 2

Once I was satisfied with the vector outline drawing I started with some color.  Now, I didn’t go crazy just in case I wanted to use this as a t-shirt design for later.  First, I colored the skin, cloak and hat, box and cane all solid colors to give a base color.  If you can’t see from the screen shot, I work with a hell of a lot of layers.  Always, always work in layers!  But again, I’m not fancy.  I didn’t slice or tone. I merely locked the sketch layer and basically colored within the lines by using my stylus with the pencil tool around the section of color.

Color 1

Then I started adding the details!  This is actually a lot of fun for me and there is no risk of messing up.  I just took the stroke off the pencil and brush tool and drew my shadows where I wanted.  I didn’t want to go overboard with a lot of detail since, I have said before, I am very simplistic.  I gave a pop of yellow for the eyes and gave the ghost his signature gold tooth.

Color 2

On to the background.  From this point I only made slight alterations with this Hatbox Squid.  I took his eyes out of the box and had them cast through a shadow on the floor.  I did not want to make the background confusing since the original designs for the Haunted Mansion were solid and straight to the character.  I sketched an odd doorway that resembled a tombstone for that Haunted Mansion vibe.  When it came to the colors I wanted a cold contrast to the green skin so I worked in the other spectrum of purples.

As for the floor, I merely added perspective lines and a few minor lines to make them appear as floorboards with nails.  Simple.  My last modification was the cane.  This is an example of embracing a change of heart.  The crooked cane I had before did not match the character well so I drew a more gentlemen-like cane.

BG 1

I then wanted a spooky, dark background to make the image a bit more eerie and less…bright.  Since I decided against wallpaper as a background I went with a gradient.  For my favorite effect I took the Squid to Photoshop for some last minute editing.

After I had the gradient how I wanted I made a layer mask for the gradient.  I chopped at the image with a thin brush for an edgy effect and put the hand from the grandfather clock as seen in the ride at the top to connect the image to the character.  The words “There is Always Room For One More” is an homage to the words of the narrator of the ride.

BG 2

And there he is, one of the few color vector Time Squids I made.  I’m hoping to do far more in the near future but this one will be special to me.  This print will be available soon at TEESQUID so check back often!



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