Thursday, 16 February 2012

Kappa v Dragon Cover Art for Fight Soap

This was a very cool project that I had a lot of fun creating. Fight Soap are a US based soap brand that markets their products to the MMA and BJJ community. They have a huge following online and are very popular with a large group of grapplers and combat sports athletes. It was a no brainer to me when they asked me to design some new cover art for them. Here's how I put it all together...

I didn't have a brief other than to come up with something that would look good on the packaging that was only going to be 2x3 inches in size. This is a lot smaller than I am used to, most t-shirts are between A4 and A3 in size so I normally draw 1:1 ratio.

I tried drawing it at 2x3 using my finest tipped pens but it was way too fiddly. So I sized up by a factor of three. Any bigger and the detail would simply get lost when it is printed. 3:1 seemed like a good balance between keeping the detail but not making it too small for my crummy eyesight!

As usual, I begin each project with a rough pencil sketch to show the client my ideas. I figured soap = water = ocean = lots of ocean fighting mythical beasties, yeah!
He was excited by the concept so my main problem was working out whether is should be portrait or landscape format. In the end I chose portrait as this seemed more powerful in such a small format.

I next began to ink up the design using pigment fineliners. I bought a huge load of them for review purposes and for this job, I used the Pilot DR Drawing Pens. (A full review of all the pens I sampled will be published here soon.)

On a piece of A4 Bristol Board, I drew an outline 6x9 inches in size and began inking the design. My lightbox helped so I could view my pencil rough underneath, although to be honest most of the final version deviates a lot from the original sketch.

I based my turtle Kappa creature on a variety of photos online of terrapins and snake necked turtles. Those things are really awesome looking in real life!


When the dragon and turtle were both inked up, I scanned it into Photoshop, cleaned it up and then put it through Live Trace in Illustrator. I much prefer working with a vector file for additional layout with text and other shapes and textures.

The screen grab below shows how I used Adobe Illustrator for the rest of the design. It was much easier to play around with the formatting compared with drawing all the clouds and waves. I'm always paranoid I'll cock something up and have to start again! Bon, the owner of Fight Soap specifically asked that I incorporate my own font, I did not have to use the official Fight Soap logo. So I used Impact type and the wavy tool. Simple! (the outer Chinese-style border was less simple lol)

The final stage was to add a grungy border. There are tons of freebie textures and frames on the internet. this is the one I used.

And here is the final product in all its shining glory!

The vector art was printed onto transparent sticker labels and adhered to the plastic box. Contained within is the bar of soap. Backlighting reveals the translucency of the soap. The company are also printing solid colour stickers to be given away as freebies.


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