Now, monster number 2 is complete! While some of the other monsters popped right in my head, this one took some time to marinate before I had an idea that I was happy with. I knew I wanted a monster coming out of a retail store, but it had to make sense. I originally wanted to make a clothing or grocery store work, but it seemed silly…a monster made of shirts? So, once I settled on a hardware store, it became a little easier. The tools would be his weapons, but how they would all come together? It is amazing it took me some time to figure out that a tool box made the most sense. Now that it is complete, it might become my favorite monster.
The styling for this monster was not as straightforward as the brick monster. I knew I had to make the tools look just right, so I made the decision to utilize gradients and gradient meshes. This was out of my comfort zone. I had used both before, but not to this extent. If you look at how I stylize the more angular areas of my illustrations, I use a combination of dark borders and light highlights made from lines. This technique allows me to hide shapes that don’t align neatly. When I have curved surfaces like the drill and circular saw, I was afraid that technique would look like I wanted an easy way out. In other words, I would be making shortcuts that would detract from the illustration. So, I committed to figuring out the gradient mesh. I probably lost some hours just figuring out what to do, but it was worth it. The trick with gradient meshes was learning how many you need (you can’t just use one) and how to make them look good together (they can easily overlap and look sloppy). Plus, they are not easy to manipulate, so planning was a must. I’m pleased that I made so much progress because I will not hesitate to use them in the future.
One more note…I have really enjoyed this illustration. The decision to (temporarily) abandon people was not an easy one, but this “monster” style I have developed seems to really fit my style. I can create characters using my favorite thing to illustrate…objects. At this point, I have basically abandoned the tree fort sketch and plan on moving forward with this style.