I’ve been thinking about doing a series of bicycle illustrations for a while now and I’m happy to say I finally got around to creating the first in the series; a fixie that I often see parked outside my local coffee shop. I’ve also been thinking about changing my style slightly and this illustration gave me the chance to try out a few things.
This bike was a good choice for kicking off the series as it’s pretty simple. It’s always good to start with an easy one.
I start with photographic reference. In this case I’d taken a photo on my phone and printed it out. I use a felt-tip pen to draw the same things over and over again until I get something I like. The image below shows the many tries at getting the ‘Fixie’ moustache wording right.
Once I have a good base outline I grab some tracing paper and draw in the details over the top, in this case the spokes, the brake cables and small decals on the frame and forks. I originally thought these pieces would work well in red.
After I scan all the pieces I use Photoshop to build the illustration and piece everything back together. It’s sort of like dissecting and putting back together again.
Adding colour to the bike and the rims.
Next I added colour to the spokes, brake cables and smaller details like the ‘F’ label on the frame. I originally thought the brake cables would work well in red but I found it over complicated the illustration. I only wanted one piece of the bike to be the highlight, like the tyres or the chain or the seat so after trying a few combinations I settled on making the wheels red.
I’ve just recently created some new grunge textures so it was nice to try these out. I tried keeping the textures subtle so they didin’t take the focus off the main image.
Finally, some detail. The shadows are created with another texture made entirely of small dots. It gives a nice aesthetic that compliments the flat graphic colours.