Kenny Spicer makes art of bad-ass bikers, bitchin’ Camaros, and other things Kustom Kulture enthusiasts go wild for. Think hot rods, skull tattoos, and anything that would look totally sick on a black t-shirt. As the drawer-in-chief at his company, Inkered, Kenny’s focus is on graphic illustration, so he needs to use a lot of different tools to get his ideas into formats that can be used by printers. He often shuttles his art back and forth between SketchBook, Photoshop, and Illustrator. This is an especially common workflow for people who need to turn their hand-drawn art into complex vector illustrations. We asked Kenny to tell us how he uses SketchBook when composing these highly detailed illustrations.
Download Kenny’s Inkered Brush Set
As part of this process, we also asked Kenny to make us a brush set for SketchBook Pro users who might want to try making this kind of detailed line art that he’s so good at making. Download Kenny Spicer’s Inkered Brush Set and check out all his unique brushes: Inker, Leaky Pen, Zen Brush, Grain Brush, Ink Brush, Scratchboard Rake, Ink Speckles, Ink Specks, Pattern Brush, Texture Pattern Brush, Texture Brush, Spike Chain Type Thing, Pastel Blender, Watercolor Like, and Smudge Exploder. These are all great examples of the kind of customization you can do with the new SketchBook Texture Brush options we released last week for our desktop apps. As you will see, textured brushes can help you create art that is cross-hatched or dotted or has its own small internal patterns — it’s perfect for adding the kind of halftone-friendly details that are associated with old-school printing processes.
Drawing Individual Assets
I use SketchBook daily in my workflow in a couple of different ways. Sometimes I use it in a pre-proof stage where I draw out a sketch for a client to get a general idea of what the end result will look like. Most of the time with my art, I am using the symmetry and perspective tools to make the drawing process much faster. After that initial drawing, my sketch might be moved into Photoshop or Illustrator and used as a template for the rest of the illustration.
Drawing the Details
Another way I use the app is in building assets for a design. I create background elements to be placed into a more complete design or even just create line work that will later be auto-traced in Illustrator to create a vectorized version of the individual assets. SketchBook’s specialized tools are put to use in a number of ways on each design. In this one I created the main focal part of the design in SketchBook (the girl on the bike) and then moved it into Photoshop to continue adding type and other elements.
Drawing to Fit in a Larger Composition
Sometimes I will export a JPG image of what I have so far and then place that into SketchBook to sketch over and use symmetry or perspective tools to help create other parts of the design that overlap or need to be aligned with other elements. I can ink it in SketchBook or bring that one layer back into Illustrator/Photoshop to pick it back up.
Starting on iPad, Finishing on Desktop
One of best things about SketchBook that helps me do what I do is the fact that SketchBook runs across all devices. Regardless if I am on an iPad, a Surface, or working on my Mac it’s always there, and I can pick up and start working from anywhere. I can start sketching out a customer’s design on my iPad and then pick right back up on the desktop app to finalize it. This kind of freedom and ease of use makes SketchBook my primary go to app when starting a design.
Watch Kenny in Action
Kenny made this neat Bike Show poster for us to show how he does what he does:
Making detailed designs like this for clients takes some dedication, but the reward for all this hard work can be very satisfying. Kenny recorded himself (in two parts) making this commissioned motorcycle illustration, and he really does a good job of explaining how he uses SketchBook to go from line drawing to final product. Check it out if you want to see how to compose a drawing like this:
Installing the Brush Set
Being able to share and install these weekly free brush sets in the desktop app is one of the features for SketchBook Pro members. If you’re using the latest desktop version of SketchBook (version 8), simply double click on the .skbrushes file, and it will automatically install. Check out this article for all the details about brushes and legacy versions. If you haven’t tried SketchBook Pro, you can download a free trial and unlock Pro membership for 15 days (no credit card required).