Fixie illustration by lobsterboy

Fixie bicycle process

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.

The Process

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.

Fixie-Process-1

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.

Fixie-Process-2

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.

Fixie-Process-4

Adding colour to the bike and the rims.

Fixie-Process-5

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.

Fixie-Process-6

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.

Fixie-Process-7

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.

Fixie-Process-8

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