Big Tow Cartoon W.I.P.

UPDATE: This Big Rig Tow Truck Cartoon is now available for purchase as Clip Art! Click Here!

Often I’m asked about how I go about creating one of my designs, and decided to work up another W.I.P. (Work In Process). (my previous one was my post about the 2011 Temecula Rod Run Car Show T-Shirt) So I figured I’d post up one of the more fun projects I’ve worked on recently – the “Big Tow” – a ‘tooned’ big rig tow truck.

Have you ever seen one of these on the road? I don’t know about you, but I think they’re pretty bad-ass. A big rig that has to hook up and tow another big rig – that’s a serious piece of machinery right there. The ones I’ve seen around here are always freshly detailed too; chrome everywhere, paint shining, and ready to go rescue their next hapless victim!

(and btw yes, I do have a thing for big rigs, and the latest craze of customized trucks is delightful to me… a lowered, hot-rodded rig? heck  yea!)

On this project I was sent a photo of the vehicle to render – this lovely beast:


I cropped it out of it’s background in Photoshop so I could focus more on it’s overall shape and the miscellaneous details like the mirrors, antennas, etc. I had to source another online image for the boom, which is shown in my pencil sketch here:

This was scanned, sent off for approval, and then I placed it into Illustrator as a template layer and start ‘inking’ it in. In this case the color was to be added in Photoshop (as spot color channels for screenprinting) so I only focused on the black line art. I use the bezier tool for most of this process, aside from the wheels and other bits that I’ll use the ellipse tool for.


Here is the finished line art, ready for export to Photoshop. I’ll use the areas of white to make my selections and add color.


Here it is in Photoshop, and I’ve started to add color. In this case it’s 5 spot colors, as I’m limited to whatever number of colors the printer has print-heads for. So I’m using red, yellow, blue, gray, and black. I’ll add a highlight white layer as well, which I’ll knock out of the color layers when it’s finished.

And here is the finished product, with highlights (bling!). The client took this art and laid it out as he saw fit with the customer’s logos and verbiage and such, so this was the ‘final’ art.  A fun job and I think it came out great. I enjoy ‘tooning’ vehicles a lot, and really need to do it more often! It’s great art therapy for a Car Chick!


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