Cartoon Logo Design For an IPad Game App

Video Transcript.Jungle Jim Logo

Hi, It’s Andy here from Zen Grenade graphics. Today I’m going to show you how I made the various elements in Adobe Illustrator that make up this logo that I made for an IPad Game App called “Jungle Jim”.

I’m using Adobe Illustrator CS5 but the general methods that I used should work fine in older and newer versions.

The first element I’m going to look at is this fern. At first glance it looks like a simple enough shape, I could make the curving stem easily enough with the pen tool but when it comes to making the leaves  they would need  to  follow the curve of the stem and also taper  to the tip evenly. One way would be to create all the leaves individually and rotate and resize each one but that’s going to take quite a bit of tweaking  and is going to be quite time consuming to get just one looking perfect. What if I want to create several slightly different versions in order to add a bit of variety

As is often the case with Illustrator, digging a bit deeper into the sub-menus  and doing a bit of creative thinking can present us with a much quicker way of doing things.

The first thing I did was use the Pen tool to draw the stem which is basically a tall triangular shape

Then I need to draw myself a leaf. I rotate the leaf slightly and copy and paste it, then flip it with the “Reflect” tool and make it into one shape with the unite command on the Pathfinder tool.

The next step is to copy and paste several instances of this combined shape and place them on the stem I want them to be spaced evenly so I’m going to select them all and use the “Align” tool and I used the “Vertical distribute center” command to do this, Now i’m going to group them and Align them with my stem. Once I’ve got everything in line I can select them all and combine them all into one shape.

It’s looking good so far but all the leaves are the same size and I really want them to taper evenly from the bottom up.

So the next step is to create a rectangle roughly the size of my fern graphic and with the Direct Selection Tool , that’s the little white arrow tool, I’m going to select the 2 anchor points at the top and scale them in so that they move together by exactly the same amount , so what you should have now is a tall truncated pyramid shape.

Select this shape and your fern graphic and Align them using the Horizontal Align Center command.

Now for this next step to work properly, the truncated pyramid shape needs to be above the fern in the hierarchy of objects. If it isn’t,  just bring it to the front by clicking on it and going  Object  -> Arrange -> Bring to Front . Now you want to select them both and go Object – > Envelope Distort ->Make with top object and it will squeeze your fern into the shape of the truncated pyramid giving you the tapered effect.

Now that we have our basic fern shape, all we need to do is turn it into a custom brush by dragging it onto the brush menu. We want it to be new Art Brush and we can give it a name if we want to.

Then all we need to do is select the paintbrush tool and paint it on. This might take a few tries to get it looking good and it can get really distorted if you use curving strokes that are too extreme but generally if you use long gently curving strokes it will look fine.

Obviously this general method can be used to create all sorts of graphic elements not just ferns. Try it with decorative patterns or even type, whatever you want.

I hope you found this tutorial useful . If you did it would be great if you’d share it on Facebook or Twitter .

The Jungle Jim game is available to download for free from itunes app store.In the next part of this tutorial I’ll go through how I made the typographical part of the logo. Bye for now


Children’s book illustration using Adobe Illustrator and Corel Painter

children's book illustration


Video Transcript

In my last blog post , I talked about illustrating a children’s book as a personal project that came about when I was entertaining my daughter by doodling a little teddy bear character and just inventing  a story about him. I’m just going to talk a bit more about the process of finishing the illustrations that I started in Adobe Illustrator by taking them into Photoshop and Painter.

I have an Adobe Illustrator Master file containing all the basic vector graphic elements I need for my book illustrations. Each element is grouped separately, so it’s like a big disorganised library file for all the elements I need. It might be a tree, a character a cloud shape it’s all thrown in here.

The workflow I’m using is to copy and paste the elements I need in to different layers in a Photoshop file. Then I’ll reopen that file in Corel Painter and add shading to it with a Chalk brush, what I’m going for here is to take those sharp hard edged vector graphics and give them a much softer look. So here’s the illustrator graphic that I’ve created of the bear chasing a squirrel up a tree. I want the tree, the bear, the squirrel’s tail and the background of the sky and clouds all on different layers. I could just copy and paste directly from Illustrator to Painter, so why bother to add the extra step of Photoshop? The main reason is, I just find it easier to do this step in Photoshop because I know the software so well,  but the other reason is that Photoshop allows you to paste the element in as a vector object which means I can resize each element up or down without any loss of quality before I rasterize it. Only once it’s rasterized does it then become a bitmap which can be edited and painted over.

The next step is to save my Photoshop file and open it in Painter. I have a palette of custom brushes in Painter but the brush I’m going to use is the default brush called “Blunt Chalk 30” I make a new layer above all the others and this is going to be a white border. Then I’m going to add some shading to the tree. I’ve got the checkbox for “Preserve Transparency” checked and that locks the layer so that only the only the tree can be painted on. Then I’m going to soften the hard edges of those white clouds with the chalk brush, so now I need to turn off the “Preserve transparency” setting  in order to paint around and outside the area of the cloud.

Finally I add some finishing shading  to the bear and the squirrel and I’m pretty much done. Back in Photoshop, the advantage of layers can be seen because I just want to shift some of the elements around slightly.  I prefer to do this in Photoshop because it has an autoselect layer checkbox which makes this part easier. If you’ve never used it, checking the Autoselect layer checkbox allows you to quickly select layers by clicking on the element you want to move rather than having to highlight the layer in the layers palette first, it’s just one of those little time saving things that really adds up over time plus if you’re dealing with lots of layers you don’t have to waste time naming and organising them  and then scrolling through them all to find the one you want. It’s basically a lazy person’s way of doing layer selection  and I make no apology for it. So there we have it, I’m one illustration closer to finishing my children’s book project. If you’d like to know when the book is available either as a digital download or a hard copy please feel free to send me a message. You can contact me via my website or just post a comment on this video.


Designing a cave girl pinup girl for a T-Shirt

In my latest YouTube video I go through my process of creating this piece of pinup style art for a Zazzle Tshirt. In order to do this I start off by sketching in Sketchbook Pro and refine it, then bring it into Illustrator for digital inking and flat colouring and finally some digital painting in Photoshop. cavegirl

Sword Girl & monsters from sketch to final pt 8

Final coloured version. A bit more tweaking in Illustrator in Photoshop and I’m finally happy with this piece. I’m particularly happy with the colour contrast between the red hair of the “Glamazon” and the blue monochrome of the background.


Sword Girl & monsters from sketch to final pt 7

In this version I’ve taken the previous greyscale flats and tweaked it in Photoshop adding some shading with the airbrush tool and pushing the hue of he whole image to a monochromatic blue, apart of course, from the red eyes of the pursuing creatures.

Sword wielding and monsters

Sword Girl & monsters from sketch to final pt 6

Flats done in Greyscale in Adobe Illustrator. A “Flat” is simply a broad area of colour or tone that has no shading or textural detail added to it. Why Greyscale? At this stage it’s important to establish that the tones have enough contrast to create a clear division between the subject  and the foreground and the background

Sword wielding girl and monsters

Sword Girl & monsters from sketch to final pt 5

Digitally “Inking” the outlines in Adobe Illustrator. This process requires the creation of some custom brushes in Adobe Illustrator. A process which I discuss in some detail in this video The custom brushes that I made give nice thick and thin lines like an actual ink brush. The great thing about illustrator’s digital “Ink” is that it can be tweaked and smoothed until it’s exactly right. No whiteout, and no spilled ink on the carpet!

Sword Girl & monsters from sketch to final pt 2

I’m starting to nail it down a bit more now. With a bit more drawing in Sketchbook Pro. my Glamazon girl is going to be facing some kind of demonic creature and I’ve decided to use the creature as a framing device to make her the central focus of the image.

Sword Girl & monsters from sketch to final pt 2

Rise of the Mirrorbots

Sketchbook Pro has a great function which allows you to split the drawing area vertically or horizontally and mirror on one side what is drawn on the other. Generally speaking it’s considered to be a bad thing in comics and animation to create poses which are symmetrical but for character creation this mirror tool really helps me to break out of the box.

I needed a robot character for the webcomic that I’ve been working on and using the mirror tool helped me come up with some surprisingly Japanese looking designs, well it surprised me anyway.

Here are some of the results of this experiment. I really liked the guy on the top right so I took him and developed him some more and he’s made it into the webcomic which I hope to start posting on a regular basis on this site later this year.

The Jungle Girl again

Jungle Girl

I recently posted the above finished Jungle Girl Pin Up image on my Deviant Art page, where you can also buy it as a print. Here’s the final You Tube video in this series showing me colouring her up in Adobe illustrator. Hi Res files for this image are also available for download from the Zengrenade Shop

New 3 part video – Jungle Girl Pin Up

I posted a new 3 part video on my YouTube channel this week of me drawing a Jungle Girl Pin up. Instead of the usual time lapse videos that I’ve done before , these are in real time and I talk a bit about the process as I do it.

Here’s part one

To see parts one and  two and to subscribe to my YouTube channel please go here