Jungle Idol

Following on from Dan’s recent breakdown of the process behind Rose, this is just a quick look behind the scenes on my piece ‘Jungle Idol’ for the Skull & Heart Kickstarter. You can still contribute to to receive the piece as a Tote bag and Print at the Kickstarter now!


These were the rough ideas I sent to Skull & Heart to pick between. I was already leaning towards the jungle / idol design but wanted to give some options so it would fit well with other rewards that would be offered. In retrospect these look sketchier than I remember, but it’s nice to do work for something like S&H where I’m confident they can see past these (extremely rough) roughs and imagine how the final piece will look.


With the Jungle Idol decided on, these are sketchbook spreads of some pages where I was trying to figure out the shape and details of the skull idol and testing some variations on the composition.


The next spread is a selection of drawings from some googled jungle reference, figuring out shapes and how to reduce a jungle down to lines and shapes.


The line drawing is completed in Photoshop, with some extra drawn elements pasted in from Manga Studio (which is useful for some finer detail and a closer approximation of ink/brush work). At this stage, the drawing was looking a little stiff and stilted (something I haven’t been able to ditch when drawing with a Wacom) so I went back to paper and inked out some shapes for the vegetation to scan in and paste over the digital lines.


On the left is the final rough composition, drawn directly in to Photoshop. The final image is on the right with the additional scanned elements and the black added digitally in Photoshop. There’s a bunch of steps missing between these two images, and it’s where a lot of the work is – a lot of digital drawing, “painting”, layers and tweaking until it looks like the final design on the right.


Jungle Idol – Will Exley

And thats it! Check out the Skull & Heart Kickstarter right here where you can pledge to help put on their new exhibition for the Colour Series, which includes my original piece, one of the first two they released, Escapees!