Enter Sandvan

  • Metallic paint of a particular hue takes my mind back to the 1970s as a kid, and the van culture that was prevalent. This 3 hour sketch thrives on Apple green flake paint with chrome accents. Beyond that, it about a box with a strong forward wedge and paddle sand tires. Simple! Below are the steps taken to arrive at this finished illustration.

    Below: sketching a thumbnail with a broad tip light (#2) Copic marker. Gesture, feeling of directionality, dynamic image, dynamic perspective drama, wide solid off road stance. Many exploration sketches are discarded before coming up with the “it” sketch that pulls everything together.
  • Next, line work in Papermate Medium Stick ballpoint pen clarifies the marker sketch. Details like the definition of surface edges-are they sharp or radiused? Glass breakup, moldings, exhaust roof details. In the previous marker rough, I had considered jerry cans nestled onto the rear hatch area. Once in pen sketch, I simply located a large piece of glass and taillights there.
  • Most of the quick rough work is setup with the foundation color for the green paint. Once the area is filled in, using layer pixel lock allows me to be rough and gestural with the next steps without going outside the boundaries of the vehicle body block-in.
  • For metallic paint, after the base color is laid down, add darker value in areas of shadow and surfaces that angle down below the eyeline to simulate shading and reflection of the ground.
  • As surfaces roll away from the viewing angle, they become more reflective due to the fresnel effect, so surfaces that roll over toward the upper side of the vehicle get sky tone reflection. This combines with sky tone reflected in the metal flake.
  • Metal flake paint may include its own coloration, such as pearl or in this case, gold. When sunlight hits the flakes, the golden color lights up, giving an illuminated area where the light is reflected the strongest. Usually it is good to do this in a focal point close to the viewer as the near part of the car appears to come off of the 2D plane in the area of high contrast and focus.
  • A duplicated layer of the previous golden bright highlighted areas is set to “dissolve” which gives the layer a particulate noise appearance. Rasterizing the layer softens the effect so that it is not too overwhelming or distracting.
  • Pure white is used as a dazzling hotspot sun reflection centered in the brightest area of the flake illumination. The shape of the hotspot simulates the odd effects of the appearance bright light in the retina.
  • Keeping a feeling of looseness from the original sketch by roughly blocking in the tires and underbody, also to contrast the clean, smooth appearance of paint. Glass areas have a touch of aqua film in the highlighted areas for color interest.
  • Chrome wheel, again very quick and rough, perspective so-so, ground tone warm grey on surfaces angles down. Somewhat desaturated greenish blue to purplish darker blue on surfaces angled toward the sky. Surfaces facing the zenith are best indicated with higher saturation of blue and more purple. Atmospheric haze pushes the blue toward lighter, neutral and green.
  • Dabs of white indicate solar reflections on the wheels, dazzling the eyeball by breaking the boundary edges of the surface and bleeding into the tire area.
  • Chrome trim around the glass can be done with care, or in this case, quickly and with spontaneity, while still committing to the coloration dictated by surface angle previously outlined by the wheel rendering.
  • Departing from the focal point, background is the most painterly and spontaneous area. Sand and sky are roughly indicated with low color chroma and value contrast, making sure neither is in competition with the vehicle itself. Where the rubber meets the sand, a dynamic blend sets the vehicle into the earth.

  • Final detailing, chrome trim on rocker, title graphic, overall paint color is considered in the context of the final piece and a choice was made to desaturate the green and push a tad toward the warm side of the spectrum.