How I Designed Santa on a Rocket

Rocket Santa

Today I want to show you my design process on how I created this Santa on a rocket.
For those who are unaware, I am currently a Merchandise Artist for Champion. Champion, as in the company who makes clothing for universities and organizations.

A sales rep messaged me asking me to put this design on a T-shirt.

Well, I cannot just lick and stick it on a shirt. Plus, it’s copyrighted, so I have an opportunity to create my own Santa blasting off! You can imagine that I was super thrilled! 😀

First, I need to find some inspiration and references. Through Pinterest and Google, I brainstormed some ideas. 

Sketching It Out In Blue

Then I used a blue pencil to begin making basic shapes to get an idea of the right proportions.Santa on a Rocket

Once I had a good idea of what I wanted, I traced over the blue lines with my Papermate mechanical pencil. I love these pencils because of the long erasers, and I don’t need to worry about sharping it.

Tracing Over in PencilSanta on a Rocket

Defining in Black Ink

Now that my lines are clear, I will go back over them with a black Fiber Castle Fine pen. This step is necessary because the dark ink will help me create Santa into a vector image later in Adobe Illustrator. Plus, the darker lines help define the drawing.

Santa on a Rocket

I have learned that adding a variety of line thickness helps make an illustration pop. 

Santa on a Rocket

The drawing portion of this project is now complete. I will now begin to transfer it to the computer but keep in mind that this first step took me about 2-2 1/2 hours to complete. I had to study the proportions and think about how to make Santa cute, chubby, and a bit realistic. I also asked for help from a co-worker too. Shout out to Adam to helped me get the angle of Santa’s boot along with his elbow.

Creating a Vector

Next, I will drop the drawing into Adobe Illustrator. (After I erased all the pencil lines.)
I will use the “Image Trace” tool to make this drawing into a vector graphic.
Then I will begin to add color and clean up any lines that were a bit rough.

Santa on a Rocket

Of course, there are always revisions! The sales rep asked me to tone down the colors and to make the design appear vintage. So, I swapped out the red for a muted auburn and changed the white to cream. I also added a rough texture to look a bit worn out.

Santa on a Rocket
Santa on a Rocket

Yup! That’s it! Granted that it took me a while, but that’s that in a nutshell! I’m super thankful that I had an opportunity to create Santa on a Rocket. The client was happy with it too! There was an order placed for 200 shirts with this design headed out to Alabama University. I don’t know why they want Santa on a Rocket, but hey, they like it! 

Tell me what you think!

Remember to sign up for my newsletter to get free designs each month! Thanks for reading!

And Merry Christmas!

COPYRIGHT ® This design belongs to Champion in ownership of Hanes Brands Inc. 2016. Created by Crystal Whitlow. Lenexa, Kansas.

Santa on a Rocket Step by Step Pinterest

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