This week I’m biting the style of Animation Background Painter Scott Mills. You have probably seen his contributions to popular cartoons like Ren & Stimpy, Samurai Jack, and Star Wars Clone Wars (2003). I was always impressed with the techniques he used to create these backdrops. Scotts use of textures from his brushstrokes to dabs from a sponge is inspiring. Is it possible to replicate that look with vector brushes in Adobe Illustrator?
I chose to copy a background painting from Star Wars: Clone Wars Volume One (located at 00:35:40). The source material I had at the time was low resolution so I improvised on some of the details. It was difficult replicating the clouds so I gave up on it and replaced them with my own. The Solar Domes were created in Blender because I wasn’t getting the results I wanted using Illustrator’s 3D-Revolve + Map Art. Even the Blender output wasn’t as accurate so a embellished a bit in order to move on with the piece. In hindsight I should have just traced the whole piece, since this is a study in coloring technique. I’ll keep that in mind for the next one. For the textures I used Chalk Brushes created by Mel. I would lay down a stroke with a brush texture applied to it, convert them to outlines and mask or crop it. This method produces thousands of endpoints for the program to manage so it may slow down your computer. The final result isn’t a spitting image of the original but it’s as close as I could get without spending more than 8 hours on it.
Original Artwork created by, Scott Mills
Side Note: I didn’t find this high resolution image until after I completed the replica.
Vector Replica created in Adobe Illustrator CC