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The making of Fox Confessor.

For those interested, I’m going to run through the process of constructing my Fox Confessor design. It was a fun thing to make, it’s always good to step away from the computer once in a while!

Step 1: Source photo

For this design, I used a photo that i found on the Wikimedia Commons. I knew I wanted to do a fox, so it made it a little easier to sort through the library of images. Eventually I found a great shot that I was happy to use.

After downloading the images, I used Photoshop to tweak the levels and up the contrast. The reason for this will be explained in a minute.

Step 2: Image preparation

Once I was done tweaking the image in Photoshop, it was time to bring it into Illustrator. Here I applied a live trace effect and adjusted the settings to limit the effect to 3 colours only, which will later make up the 3 layers of paper in my design.

Before I mentioned tweaking levels to up contrast in the image. The reason I did this was to help the live trace yield better results. It basically helped to emphasise the dark vs light areas. If I didn’t do this, then the live trace might have looked a lot flatter. Kind of hard to explain, sorry!

After the live trace, I went through a rather tedious, but necessary task. I find when you apply a live trace effect, its always going to be obvious that you’ve used that effect. A straight live trace often looks a little dodgy in my opinion. So basically, I used the live trace as a guide to draw my own shapes. I set up 3 layers, one for each level of colour, then drew shapes with the pen tool, using the live traced image as a rough guide. This gave me an image which had smoother corners and a simplified shape overall. Below is the result of this step.

Once I had finished each layer of colour, I printed each of them out separately in black on A4 paper.

The preparation is now complete, so now its time to get into the fun hands on stuff!

Step 3: Lots of careful cutting and sticking

There isn’t too much to this step. Above, you can see a shot of my workspace (its not a very pretty workspace). At the top you will see the three bits of coloured paper that I have used for the 3 layers. On the cutting mat, you can see one of the print outs that I’m going to use basically as a mask.

What I did was stick that mask print out to the back of one of sheets of coloured paper, then carefully cut it out with a scalpel. I started with the bottom layer (the orange) which was the biggest, and easiest to cut out.

Once this was complete, I stuck the layer down in position onto an a3 piece of tracing paper. Now it was time to repeat the same process on the next layer.

In the above photo, I hadn’t stuck the second layer down yet, it was just sitting there for the moment. This was quite fortunate, because it was at this time that I decided it’d look cool to add some line work detail to the orange layer.

I removed the second layer to complete the line work, then proceeded to stick it down for good. After I had done that, it was time to do the final layer.

I applied some more line work to the top layer, but being a dark colour it is quite subtle. You can kinda see it in the close up detail shots though.

Once the final layer was stuck down, I was pretty much done, just had to scan it into the computer and upload. All that was left to do after that really was to clean up…. I hate that part, and i am still yet to do it….

And here is the final result:

I hope this has been useful, sorry for making it so wordy! This project took me about a week and a half to complete. The documented execution above only took about half a day, but the ideas and thinking took the rest of the time up. I usually go into a process like this pretty well prepared with a pretty clear picture in my head, but that takes time to develop.

If you want something explained better, or expanded upon, feel free to ask and i’ll be happy to oblige.

Thanks for reading :)

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