Ayal Pinkus

Hi there!
I thought I'd do an editorial on my process. I'm currently drawing illustrations to go with pull quotes and I find I am experimenting a lot. This is one image I did this week.

Seventeenth century Dutch merchant kisses Madame Butterfly with pull quote It would be very bad to be killed kissing.

I got bored with the compositions where you had two visual components: an image and a pull quote, and I have been trying to come up with more interesting compositions. I looked at Sergio Toppi’s work for this a lot.

So it starts with thumbnails: tiny drawings where I try to get the general abstract composition right:

First thumbnails in an attempt to get the design right.

You can't see it that well here because I kept drawing over the thumbnails, adjusting them, but I did try various different compositions. Never fall in love with your first design!

I found it hard to get the pose of the woman right. I had bought reference images from, and found one that was perfect, and used it to come up with a first preliminary sketch in ballpoint to see if I could make it work:

Preliminary sketch of seventeenth century Dutch Merchant in close embrace with Japanese woman Madame Butterfly as they kiss.

I struggle a lot with drawing as accurately as a line drawing needs, and so I decided to try to draw on a larger sheet of paper than I usually do, A3 in stead of A4. Here I am posing the mannikins so I can dress them up later, drawn with pencil this time so I can erase:

Posing mannikins for the illustration.

Then I dress them up. Having the underlying anatomy of the bodies helps me figure out how the cloth drapes over them. The final finished piece wouldn't look believable if I skipped this phase.

Clothed mannikins.

I currently only have an A4 scanner and I am looking at ways to scan larger drawings. But since I wanted to draw bigger, I decided to ink this digitally, with ProCreate on the iPad PRO.

Digital line art for the illustration.

Then the coloring begins. I created this little utility that can “flat” line art, meaning it creates patches with the same color within line areas. This helps greatly in coloring:

Color flats for digital line art for the illustration.

I chose a limited palette, hue 20 — an orange-red color — and hue 70 — a yellow-green color. The orange-red is a nice warm color that suggests warmth and fire. The yellow-green color was inspired by the umber color painters used in the seventeenth century, and is somewhat complementary to the red and a cooler color.

Yours truly,
Ayal Pinkus