Drawing Tutorial: Tim Burton Illustration Style

Today I decided to do a piece that is inspired by one of my favorite illustrators, artists, writers, and filmmakers: Tim Burton.

Nightmare Before Christmas Illustration by Tim Burton

Tim Burton uses a lot of ink and has a loose, sketchy style. This illustration is my inspiration for this piece. It's from the original Nightmare Before Christmas poem, that I highly recommend this version of. It's all illustrated by Burton himself and it's beautiful.


Anyway, here is my illustration:


I went a ways darker with mine, but let me break down the process. This ink and watercolor, or you simulate it digitally.

Start with the basic sketch. I drew two hills in and kept the trees very stick-like. The branches in this illustration start super high on the tree. Make sure to thicken the base of the trees and get thinner as the branches go further out. It's like drawing the letter "Y" over and over.

I filled in the hills with loose, sketchy, broken lines. Make sure to follow the shape of the hill. Don't just go horizontal or vertical, contour your lines to the shape.

I added a silhouette in.

I switched to watercolor, loosely going around the sky with a light black wash, and I built on that for the hills. I kept the highlight towards the center of the hills and went darker on the way out.

I painted in the sky with a dark blue wash, again pushing the pigment to the outer edges and leaving the middle (where the moon will be) lighter.

I did this piece digitally, but you can accomplish the white line work with a white gel pen if you're painting traditionally. Outline the moon.

I filled in the moon with white. I'm using a watercolor brush in Photoshop, but to achieve this with real watercolor, you would either have had to have left the space empty of color, or go over it with white gouache or white acrylic.

I lightly dabbed in black watercolor to create craters in the moon.

I outlined the moon with white lines following a circular pattern. Again, you can do this with a white gel pen like this one, or digitally:


I added white highlights to the silhouette, just where it faces the moon.

Done! 





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