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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