Once again, I’m think­ing about Christmas way too early for nor­mal people. This time I’m think­ing about reveal­ing the sad truth about where candy canes actu­ally come from.

I enjoyed the ‘work in pro­gress’ anim­a­tion I pos­ted a week or so back, so I thought I’d do some­thing sim­il­ar here, and show you the pro­cess.

ccspc_11) So I start with a quick sketch. A quick and crappy sketch. I’m work­ing dir­ectly in Inkscape, using the ‘pen­cil’ tool. Drawing dir­ectly with the mouse has been likened to draw­ing with a bar of soap; it works, but you’re not going to trouble da Vinci any. Luckily, I’m not going for artistry at this point, just a rough out­line.ccspc_2

2) Now I block in broad areas of col­our; this is a Christmas pic­ture, so I’m using Christmassy col­ours. Making shapes with Inkscape’s ‘Bézier’ tool is a lot more pre­cise than sketch­ing. Notice that I haven’t fol­lowed my sketch par­tic­u­larly closely. These block of col­our are the first real indic­a­tion of wheth­er the pic­ture is going to ‘work’ or not.

ccspc_43) So now I add some shad­ows and some detail­ing on the stock­ing. Even rel­at­ively simple shad­ow­ing makes the flat shapes into some­thing much more sol­id. The detail­ing on the sock is import­ant to ensure it actu­ally ‘reads’ visu­ally as a sock. It also breaks up what would be a big expanse of green. ccspc_5

4) This was the hard bit; draw­ing the stripes. This was, frankly, a pain. I had to watch that I didn’t get too obsess­ive about it; I’m going for a car­toony approach, not a math­em­at­ic­al one. I’m pretty happy with the final res­ult.

ccspc_65) Now the eyes. I always leave the eyes to near the last, it always seems to me that adding the eyes makes a col­lec­tion on shapes into an entity. I go for green for the eyes, in order to keep a tight and bright col­our palette. There are just fours col­ours in this pic; red, green, white and black. I sup­pose I’m ccspc_7cheat­ing by mak­ing the black some­what trans­par­ent in places (i.e. for the shad­ows).

6) Finally, I add a drop shad­ow to anchor the squid, and to make it pop.

So that’s where candy canes come from.

Here’s the quick ver­sion:


Oddly hyp­not­ic, isn’t it?

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