Latest Commission: Binnall the Night Stalker!

Behold! The one and only Tim Binnall, characterized as a modern version of Kolchak the Night Stalker. If you’ve never heard that name before, it was a short-lived tv series from the 70’s that acquired a cult-like status after it was cancelled. It is often said that Chris Carter was so enamored with the series as a young child, he decided to use it as inspiration for his own TV show, The X Files –if you haven’t heard of THAT one, GTFO!

Original reference image. Adding the bottle of Tito’s vodka was a nice touch, IMO 😉

Incidentally, this TV series played a pivotal role in the life of my friend Mike Clelland. When he was very young, Mike and a schoolbuddy of his went to see a football game, and after it ended they hurried up to return home because Mike wanted to catch up the latest episode of Kolchak. It was then that the mysterious “orange flash” incident occurred –you should grab a copy of his book to learn all about it– which to the two kids lasted only a moment, but caused Mike to return home about an hour later that he expected, winning him a good reprimand from his parents on top of the disappointment of having missed his favorite show. The memory of that fleeting event continues to haunt Mike, and I hope one day he’ll finally learn the truth of what really happened that night.

As per the illustration itself, like always I sought to experiment with new things and techniques, so on top of using a different set of brushes I also chose to try something called greyscale coloring, which is something you can find mentioned in several Youtube tutorial videos. Greyscale coloring is basically a digital painting technique devised by artists working in the videogame industry, which is meant to give you a bit more control on the final render of the image. In a way, it’s kind of a backward approach to what I use to do, because you start doing your illustration with only monochromatic values, so that you only worry about getting the volumes of the shapes right, before you go to the next step of applying color.

This is the ‘greyscale’ version of the main image, without any lines.

So once you’re satisfied with the values, you put a new layer on top with all the main colors, which you then set to “Color” mode instead of “Normal.” What I discovered with this technique is that it’s very difficult to predict the actual final color you’re going to get. At first I was kind of frustrated with how dark the skin tone looked, and also how the things that were suppoded to BE dark weren’t (like the band on Tim’s hat). So in order to properly use this technique you need to keep adding elements using other modes like “hard light.” “Multiply” and “Overlay” in order to build on top of it until you finally get what you want. There was a lot of trial and error involved, and I think in the end I used many more layers than I expected! But the final result made up for it, don’t you think?

I’m extremely pleased with the final result. I daresay this is one of my best illustrations yet, and I’m also happy to report it received a lot of praise from Loren Coleman, one of the top cryptozoologists in the world.

So, if you’re interested on requesting a commission for yourself, please leave a comment below or send me an email (absurdbydesign[at]gmail[dot]com)

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