Collage showing the history of the fez fish

Evolving Art

When we first see a drawing, we might imagine a flash of inspiration leading straight to the finished artwork. Many times that’s what happens, but not always.

One of my favorite drawings took a few years and several versions until the art finally matched up with my imagination. The fez fish began as a 2013 sketch book drawing that I scanned and colored in Photoshop.

First version of the fez fish

A few months later, the fish appeared in a surreal fantasy comic that I created for a comic book contest.

Page 13 from the Little Dreamers comic book

After the contest, I returned to the original sketch book drawing and redrew the fish in Adobe Illustrator. I smoothed out the linework and applied shadows to add depth.

Second version of the fez fish

Jumping forward to 2017, I decided to revisit the fez fish in an attempt to better express the Victorian-era mystery of this character.

Sketches of the fez fish, part 1 of 2

Sketches of the fez fish, part 2 of 2

I scanned my sketches and did the final drawing and coloring in Illustrator.

Redbubble version of the fez fish

Sometimes it takes time and patience to get where you want to go. Even when you are travelling through your imagination!

Visit my Redbubble shop to purchase this design as a t-shirt, sticker or phone case.
Redbubble version of the fez fish

Visit my Society6 shop to purchase this design as an art print or home decor item.
Society6 version of the fez fish


How to Use Opacity Masks in Adobe Illustrator

Opacity masks offer a easy-to-edit, non-destructive way to change the transparency of your Illustrator artwork by creating shapes through which the underlying artwork is revealed and concealed.

So, when might you want to use an opacity mask?

Here are two practical examples that were adapted from questions asked on the graphic design question-and-answer site Graphic Design Stack Exchange. Continue reading “How to Use Opacity Masks in Adobe Illustrator”

Low Poly Dog Illustration

How to Create a Low Poly Dog in Adobe Illustrator

If you’ve played 3D video games you’ll recognize low poly from its blocky appearance and lack of detail. In 3D computer graphics a polygon mesh, often composed of triangles, is used to model 3D objects. The more polygons used in the mesh, the more detail can be applied to the object.

I recently watched a video that demonstrated an easily understood process for using an image to create low poly artwork in Adobe Illustrator. While playing the video I wanted to look at written instructions, but there were none available. Watching parts of the video over and over again was slowing me down, so I ended up taking my own notes and have turned them into this tutorial. Continue reading “How to Create a Low Poly Dog in Adobe Illustrator”

1:2 aspect ratio flag of Scotland

How to Create a Saltire Flag in Adobe Illustrator

It has nothing to do with salt, tires or salty language. A saltire is the diagonal cross used in many flag designs, including the flags of Scotland and Jamaica.

I first learned about saltires (and their use in flag designs) while searching for an simple way to divide a rectangle into matching pairs of triangles. This tutorial might not be as entertaining as Sheldon Cooper’s “Fun with Flags” videos (from The Big Bang Theory), but you’ll find out a a few flag facts and learn how to create an easily customizable saltire flag. Continue reading “How to Create a Saltire Flag in Adobe Illustrator”