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James White, the one-man powerhouse behind Signalnoise design studio, gives us a peek at one of his latest projects: illustrating the wrestlers of the WWE. His designs focus on the WWE's heyday in the eighties and early nineties—back when it was a bunch of "big guys with a gimmick." Watch as James sketches out his initial ideas and then transitions to the computer to enhance the outlines in Adobe Illustrator and add dimension and texture in Photoshop. The end result? A series of unique illustrations that celebrate the pop culture legacy of wrestlers like Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper.
James White: One of my recent projects that I've taken on, has been illustrating WWE wrestlers. Being a kid and being in WWE back then, it was just big guys with gimmicks. When I was designing these little characters, I wanted to play up their gimmicks. I use a blue lead with a pencil. Sketch everything in, outline everything, do all my blacks. This is the standard template model that I've been using for most of my wrestlers up until this point. What I do is I put in every bezier point by hand, until I eventually start building what the hat will look like, what the tie will look like and everything.
In Illustrator, vectors are very flat. They're very two dimensional. Photoshop is where I put all of my texture, all of my brushwork, all my lighting, and all of my shading.
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