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Inky Illustrations: Make an Inky Valentine in 14 Days! Workshop

So I'm doing the workshop, creating a Valentine's Day card. I'll be updating this project with milestones as the workshop progresses (and as I get stuff done). 

Milestone 1 (2/2/16)

Here is a collection of random illustrations that I like right now: 

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There are a variety of techniques employed above. But I'll probably lean toward something more hand-drawn (as opposed to something geometric and vector-based). Lately I've been emphasizing form/shape over line. And color-wise, I want to keep it simple with a limited color palette with overprinting (I do a lot of printmaking so that's always an influence).

Milestone 2 (2/4/16)

In my research I came across vintage Valentine's Day cards and loved the cheesy, sweet quality. So I decided to go with that conceptually. I've also been wanting to draw something space-related so I combined the two ideas. Most of these vintage cards have cheesy puns so after some brainstorming I came up with "You're out of this world!". 

Here are some very rough sketches of the main character. From a design standpoint, I really wanted to make sure the character had a good silhouette:

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For the overall design, I came up these rough sketches:

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I try not to get fussy with my sketches (especially since I'll be recreating all of this in Illustrator). My overall goal was to keep the design simple with just a few parts. I want to the design to read quickly. Here is the more polished up sketch:

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Next stop... redrawing this in Illustrator... 

Milestone 3 (2/9/16)

So I brought my  sketch into Illustrator and made the base illustration. My overall goal was to keep the drawing as simple as possible—just enough shapes and lines to tell the story. I went all out and made it as retro-looking as possible. From a composition standpoint, I followed Tom's advice and played around with the size of the elements to fill the space better. Here's the base illustration:

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I like the illustration but its way too clean and smooth for me. Plus, I think I took it too far to completion and it's basically a finished illustration (I got a little cared away). So the next step is taking it back a bit and adding all the hand drawn parts. More than likely, I'll be replacing most of the digital line work and replacing it with hand drawn bits. And I'll definitely be adding texture to outer space and the astronaut's suit. 

Thanks for all the comments, folks! I appreciate it. Feel free to leave any suggestions as to how to improve it. 

Milestone 3 Update (2/10/16)

I went back into and re-did my base illustration—making it more primitive and taking out all the details that I'll be putting back in later as hand-drawn elements. I'll use the more detailed illustration as a guide when it comes to inking but this simpler version gives me more to work with:

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