Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Turning Someone Into A Peanut (Christmas Wrapping Part 4)

Nothing like the Sunday Funnies with Linus and his good friend...Daryl? Here's the deal: a few years ago, as a Christmas gift, I drew good ol' Daryl into a Peanuts illustration. She loved it. So, since then, I've drawn her into a number of scenes and comics as a little Peanuts character. This year the illustration also ends up as box art on a gift from another friend: hand-felted art dolls of Linus and Daryl from runredrun. Follow along, won't you, and see all the steps it took to complete this multi-level Christmas gift.

1) First, a look back at some of the other Peanuts art I did featuring the gang's new friend, "Daryl." This first one is, of course, the skating scene at the opening of the Charlie Brown Christmas special.

2) This is another Christmasy image of Charlie Brown, Daryl and Linus hanging out at the wall. I tried to match the look of watercolor backgrounds with hand-painted cels of the characters on top, but it's all done digitally.

3) When my friend at runredrun told me she was making Linus and Daryl dolls based on my old Schulz send-ups, I knew I needed to create a new image that would work as both a framed illustration and as box art for the dolls. So I proportioned a new sketch for both purposes and started with the pencils. The pencils relied heavily on Sunday comic compositions by Charles Schulz. As usual I wanted to make it as authentic as possible. So I pored through old Peanuts collections to find just the right neighborhood scene. And, of course, the Daryl character is basically a Peanuts girl in a blonde wig. You just don't mess with good design.

4) So the next step was inking the pencils. I did it digitally in Photoshop, but tried to use that same loose, sometimes shaky inking style that Schulz was known for. Again, authenticity is the key.

5) I continued aping the Peanuts look by picking colors found in the actual comics -- or close to them, anyway. I liked it, but I thought giving it that roughed-up, newspaper look would give it a warmer feel.

6) So I aged it. I used the halftone screen filter for all the colors, giving it that old printing press feel. And, to complete that effect, I knocked the colors off-register to fake the look of printing plates slipping during the press process. Now onto the "wrapping" part of this project.

7) As I said before, I set this project up so that it could be used as a printed illustration and box packaging. So I placed the box package template over the illustration in order to see where my text would go.

8) Finding a font online that mimicked Charles Schulz' unique lettering was fairly easy. So I downloaded it and created the masthead for the doll packaging.

9) Finally, here are the dolls, standing near their packaging. I love the look of these dolls and the way the label turned out. These will be a great surprise for Daryl come Christmas morning (as long as she stays off my blog until then).

For more shots of the finished dolls as well as some work-in-progress shots, you can read a fun and informative post over at runredrun. Happy Holidays! -v

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