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KO Prizefighter (with walkthrough)

KO final

KO is the greatest of all time. The GOAT.

I’ve been dying to draw some variation of him for a very long time. KO was on of the first inductions into my brand new sketchbook! (I also started drawing Paul Heyman as Krang inside Brock Lesnar as the android.)

My initial plan was to draw him pop-up powerbombing the planet Earth, but that’s surprisingly harder to draw than it sounds. Maybe some other day. Decided to go with a more minimal approach. Wanted to utilize that graphic-design-halftone-line shading I’ve been using recently. I think I got that out of my system with this one.

I’ll take you through it step by step.

ko process sketchLike I said, I first drew my boy KO in this tiny little sketchbook.

Didn’t even finish him. Just decided “meh, I can reflect that arm in Illustrator later, whatever.” Lazy ass. Just sketched is bad ass beard, his sweet sleeveless shirt and his superior bull tattoo. Then I said “yeah ok, this is kind of interesting. This might be going somewhere.”

I then snapped a picture with my ancient cell phone’s terrible, terrible camera. I uploaded it to Facebook and was like “HEY GUYS, LIKE THIS PICTURE AND BOOST MY SELF ESTEEM.” I think it got a like! That’s huge! What joy! Might as well continue with it.

I imported that sucker into Adobe Illustrator. I was debating between that and Photoshop, but decided I wanted to make some crisp vector lines for this. Also thought the whole halftone line style would look better.

ko pen toolNow, the pen tool. Forever

Traced the original sketch using the pen tool. Normally I would trace the width of the pencil work, but this time I decided to put down the lines at a specific point weight and expand it. That’s jargon, I know. Tracing KO’s head was a pain, because of all the spikes in his beard/hair. Had to keep adjust the meter limit and expanding and manipulating blah blah blah. Whatever. Got it to work eventually. Reflected his arm to fill in the missing section. Worked like a charm. WORK SMARTER.

Next, I started blocking out some base colors using the pen tool to fill some of the sections of the drawing. Blocked out the gloves and shirt on one layer, blocked out the beard on another layer…

ko glove halftonesOn the parts I wanted to apply the halftone line effect, I created straight lines at a 45 degree angle with the pen tool, stroke set to 2 pts. Did a step repeat on that sucker until I was confident that it would fill the space. This may be a backwards way of doing it, but I have had success with it.

Expanded the lines, used the pathfinder to merge them, then made them a compound path. Moved them over the area I wanted to fill, traced the outline of said area, and used the pathfinder to extract. You can see the results in the gloves and beard. Holy crap, no one is going to understand that.

Did some work on the arms and the face, blocking out the colors. Let it be noted that the halftone on the beard was a real pain in the ass. The beard in general… Just one big ass pain. Ya dig?

KO lettering processMoved on to the lettering of his shirt. This is where I could loosen up a bit.

I realize the order isn’t as structured as I thought it was at this point, but whatever. I traced the K and the O with the pen tool and had my heart set on keeping this white regardless of the rest of the color scheme. Traced the O and subtracted the center with the Pathfinder tool, which is slowly becoming my best friend. I’m a master at that thing now. Pathfinder 4 life.

Moved onto the tattoo detail on his arm next (I think). This was another place where I could be a bit looser with the pen tool. Drew in the face and the eye, then used that Pathfinder again to subtract the interior parts of the horn, the ear, and the eyeball.

I decided whatever color scheme I ended up going with, this bull tattoo should be the second darkest. I didn’t want it to blend in with the dark outline work. Thought it could act as a detail to make the rest of the piece pop.

ko-process-shot-7Time to pick a color scheme.

Went to colourlovers.com to choose. An old stand by site I use when I’m feeling color-challenged on any specific day. Kinda got my gears turning here and helped me out a bit. I started putting several variations of the drawing side-by-side and tweaking the colors accordingly. One version had my boy looking like the Incredible Hulk, but we both know Hulk has nothing on Owens.

Guess what was giving me trouble with the color scheme! If you said “the beard” you’re right! Because you know, it’s the bane of my existence in this drawing. Went through so many variations of that mane. Like this one. Most of them looked really stupid and bad. I began to slip into insanity.  But then I got it to work mostly, so you know, insanity averted.

Suddenly I stumbled across this blue ordeal and my eyes were like “AWWWW YEAAAH. THIS IS IT.” I could be wrong. Consider it KO’s blue period. I guess. When I hit this part though, I felt like it just wasn’t enough. Almost there but it was missing something. Gotta add a background element.

ko splotch Let’s add some sloppy splotches!

I went through Illustrator’s brush library and opened up one of my favorite libraries. I played around with varying strokes and designs for a good 20 minutes. Finally decided on one. Then I remembered that Illustrator had some pretty cool vector grunge symbol packs. Went through those as well and ended up choosing a little splotch I thought looked cool. Expanded both suckers and applied the same color as KO’s arms and face. Sent them to a layer in the back, and there you have it! That’s it! Done!

Hope you enjoyed. I feel like it’s good to share the process every now and again. I’m sorry if none of it makes sense.

About strangethingsart

Always sketchin'. Always drawin' something rather odd... Rather strange... I work traditionally and digitally. I like Beta Ray Bill and The Hulk. I also like Lobo. There's actually a couple other comic book guys I like too.

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