Join Simone Legno for an in-depth discussion in this video Skate Deck: Building a Design, part of Creative Inspirations: tokidoki, Character Illustrator.
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(Music playing.) So today I will show you how to apply my graphics on a skateboard. We will start from the template that this skate company that makes our skate decks provided me. And I will start right now. So the first thing we have to do it's like we have like the guidelines that have to be blocked, because they're moving. So we just select all and a Command+2 would block them.
And then I find it a bit uncomfortable like since the shape of the skate as you can see is long and horizontal, like the idea that I have, it would be easier for me like to draw it in vertical. And anyways I have to trace the shape of the skateboard, because I want to be able like to change the background color. So the first thing I do is just select, creating like a backspace, where to put like a back color.
So it's kind of quick. It doesn't have to be precise, because we always have to leave out of any template like extra color. So if the print is not the very precise, you'll have like some margin color. So for now I put the random color, like depending on the images I choose. I am going like to modify it. So here I've prepared, I've brought a file that I did before that's a wall that I printed for trade shows of Tokidoki.
And so I have like lots of images here, and from here I'll choose what to use. I like this girl and it would be like pretty useful, because my idea is if you look to the head here, like the shape would suit with the shape of a skateboard. So I think she could be like a good start-off for us. So I just select her, and copy her and I paste it inside the template. All right for me it's going to be easier to work hopefully vertical with the board.
So I just turn it around. When we turn something in Illustrator, this is one of the basic things, if we press the Shift, it's going to move it precisely 45 degrees. So this our skateboard. I block it, as every background. So it's not going to bother me. Then I just-- this is my idea as a major concept. I like to fit her shape, with the shape of the skateboard.
So I think these colors are pretty good. So I think for now we can put some color that is similar that suits with her. So just make it a bit lighter maybe, or more yellow. Okay so this is a good color for me and then now we have to fill in this area. So I think that some characters here will look good. So I will use the Cactus Friends, which I talked about before.
So let me look for them between all these characters. Bastardino would suit pretty well. I think it could be nice here in the bottom. So for now I just put them like this and then like every element needs to be in the right dimension. I like to fill in properly all the space and we will put like her friend and owner Sandy, which could be good to put it here.
I put Sandy right here because I don't want to-- this is mostly the center of the board and I think the hand is not like such a main element to focus the attention of the person. So then just to look we have to put everything on the right level, but still the composition is kind of poor. So I just want to put more inside to make it like more colorful and funky.
So what else we can put? I think we need some smaller elements. These records could work pretty well, so let me try those. It's all a matter of trying. I am choosing like certain pieces. When I build the collection, the new collections of Tokidoki, a lot of times I try to use the newer-- to add some newer characters to their older ones. So I try to like to use them more or less in the same period, because this is the one that is going to like, gets me excited in this period as everything is new.
So I am putting them together and then you are going to have to choose something that would work with the space you want to fill in. And some are more like detailed and some are more like a graphic and basic, and they suit better. Like for example, this cloud, and they suit better like for the background. So there is some elements that you can just show partially and then you just exploit them to make your background more colorful, and to fill in like the optical emptiness.
Then it's always very important to brand every piece you do, or to sign it, if you are like an artist. And so put the logo, so maybe I can put, to make the logo stand out better, I can put a cloud under it. So I am going to have the logo sticking out. Then I see like all the background of the deck, it's all the same, flat.
So like maybe I would like to create different color areas. So what I will do is going to copy and paste again, like the board over it, and just cut it in parts like a piece of bread. So like I can create different stains of colors, which could be important. So like now I have for example three, four areas. So maybe I would make this one lighter. Here we can drop down and maybe we can have maybe a sort of gradient.
So it's just a matter of practice and fill it where it needs like more color, and more weight to the illustration. All this pink right here is a bit too much. So I just cut out a piece of this flower, and maybe I will make this color probably a bit darker. So a color that a could match could be like a violet, because somehow, it suits well with the color the pinks of the tattoo and the pink of the flower.
But anyway this deck has lots of colors and it's not just like monochromatic. It's not like mostly green or mostly blue, but trying out. It's always good to try different colors and never stop at the first solution, if you are not 100% sure. It's coming pretty nice I think. I start to like it, but designing for a skate deck or T-shirt depends on the medium, or the product, like it's pretty different in this case.
Like the manufacturer of the deck, they work with CMYK. So I don't have any limit of color, since they print all of the colors together and it's not like a divided color, like in silk screen. So I can put lots of colors. Then generally like these kind of skate decks are like more for pop-art collectors so they are used to hang on the wall and you will have time to observe them and appreciate all the composition. When you design a T-shirt you have to have it be pretty iconic and simple.
It's better to use simple things, because they are just more impactful and sometimes like a too big print on a T-shirt can be a bit too much like to make it match with the rest of the color, or rest of the clothing. And then the person is somewhat in movement, so if something is too complicated, you can't get exactly what the design is. So sometimes it happens that I have more complicated T-shirts, but they are completely two different mediums.
- Lynda Weinman interviews Simone
- Starting the process with sketches
- Taking the character from paper to computer
- Filling in color and shape
- Define finishing details and production preparation
- Applying a design to a skate deck
- Q&A with Simone on branding, his characters, design diversity, and more!