Wednesday, February 04, 2009


As someone who likes to explore different styles in his illustration work, I have the utmost respect and admiration for a musician like David Bowie who manages to explore, experiment and evolve in his music during a career that has spanned five decades! So put me down as a big fan of the man and his music.

This was done for the current David Bowie jam over at The Drawing Board.

The 'painting' started out as a blue ballpoint pen scribble. It was then scanned into Photoshop and with the line colourised on a multiply layer, colour and shading was added using a hard brush with opacity jitter set to pen pressure (this creates transparent to opaque brushstrokes depending on how hard you press. Good for painterly brushstrokes). Then I went to Painter and blended together the line and shading to create a painted look (see my paperboy tutorial for that process in detail). Then it was back into Photoshop where I added detail with the aforementioned hard opacity brush. Noise was added at the end to give it a slight grain, reducing the digital look.

Here's a close up of the face detail


Blogger Andreas Schuster said...

very nice!
i have to look at that tutorial again while listening to Ziggy Stardust

11:16 PM  
Blogger Maiolo said...

Eh, eh, eh. Very beautifull artwork. The neck and the eyes are Great! Good work!

3:16 AM  
Blogger Mike Briggs said...


3:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! That's fantastic!

3:59 AM  
Blogger Seo Kim said...

sooo AWEsome.

5:33 AM  
Blogger Bob Fingerman said...

That's breathtaking. You really captured the eerie otherworldliness of (especially) young Bowie. And the limited palette is so evocative. Just beautiful.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful ! the last great caricature of bowie i've seen before was kruger's one but this one is marvellous !
congratulations !

10:08 PM  
Blogger Scribbler said...

spot on Chris! Fantastic Bowie! The colour palette choice is inspired!

11:21 PM  
Blogger Will Appledorn said...

great process. what i really like about it is that your able to minimize the "digital" look.

thanks for sharing

9:02 AM  
Blogger Oskar Forsgren said...

Looks similar to Hermann Meija's style.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Jeremy Townsend (JERT) said...

wow, one of the best Bowies I've ever seen

4:59 PM  
Blogger Pupi said...

amazing jobs man

9:29 AM  
Blogger Joe Bluhm said...

Dear Lord, Chris. uggg. Soooo goooood.

4:23 PM  
Blogger greg oakes said...

freakin brilliant chris!!
(from a fellow bowie fan)

7:40 PM  
Blogger J.BOSCO said...

great is works!


8:17 AM  
Blogger SEILER said...

One of the better Bowies I've seen, great work! And it's amazing, doesn't look digital at all, awesome!

8:54 AM  
Blogger Tooninator said...

great work mate

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's awesome. I can't even draw a straight line so I love to see someone with talent.

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Superlative, Chris. Top stuff!

8:27 AM  
Blogger Nelson Santos said...

What i like in you is that you can change styles in each post easily, but the medium is always the same, when will you post tradicional stuf like watercolor, gouache or acrylic(that Bowie seems watercolor even though i know its digital), would love to see that tradicional stuff man!

5:06 AM  
Blogger Hans said...

Hahaha hilarious and spot-on! Kinda looks like a real life Kuzco in the halfway Llama stage!!!

Hope all is well,


7:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMFG that is beautiful! You captured the man perfectly.


7:14 PM  
Blogger pablo pablo said...

Very good works!!!!

12:28 AM  
Blogger Michael Dooney said...

omg. sheesh, I would have loved to be looking over your shoulder on this one. There's no remaining hint that this started as a pen drawing and it really looks like traditional media like water color or something in the detail. Beautiful!

1:28 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

That is one long neck. Beautiful colors and amazing face. Great work, Chris!

6:09 AM  
Blogger Jorge Restrepo H. said...


9:56 AM  
Blogger Beatriz Iglesias said...


2:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just stumbled on your blog - awesome. Just awesome work.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Chrissie A said...

Great piece of work, Chris--you've completely captured the fascinating Mr. Bowie. The eyes, the teeth, that NECK--wonderful job!!

8:38 AM  
Blogger vasco santos said...

Nice cartoon...your are fantastic...
great work

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bonjour M. Whal.
I'm a french student always amazed by your stuff, especially your caricatures (especially Nick Cave's ones). I wanted to ask you something. I draw for myself, but I would like to work on audiovisual production (animation or video games, whatever...). However I was thinking about moving in United States, but I just don't know where. I really would like you to tell me what do you think about my work, what job should I get and where could i get it. Here is my blog adress:
Thank you for your attention and your great stuff.
ps: vous avez vraiment une super technique ainsi qu'une grande sensibilité sur ce Bowie.

11:47 PM  
Blogger Tassia said...

Very good cartoon.

5:32 AM  
Blogger Chris Wahl said...

Thanks everyone for the comments!

Nelson- Not much chance of seeing traditionally painted stuff from me. I never learnt to paint growing up, I was more into pastel/pencil and ink, and I still use two of those in much of my work today. As much as I'd love to have tangible pieces of art to hang on a wall and/or sell, I really can't be bothered with the mess.

9:10 PM  
Blogger Sean (53AN) Gardner said...

I have to say this is one of the most inspiring pieces I've seen. There are color elements I've really been wanted to re-introduce into my work and this piece gets me really excited to take action. much respect.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Chris Wahl said...

Thanks Sean. Glad to hear you're inspired.

7:40 PM  
Blogger Bosch Fawstin said...

Excellent catch

3:46 AM  
Blogger Chris Wahl said...

Thanks Bosch!

1:12 PM  

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