Breaking Fred is one of my favorite art series I’ve done since it was done during the height of the Breaking Bad Finale. It was my tribute to one of my favorite shows. While I was posting these images on Instagram a lot of my followers asked about my illustrator process. With the launch of the new site I decided to start creating Adobe Illustrator Tutorials that I call Vectorials.

Step One: The Sketch Layer

Although digital art is saturating the landscape of illustration I still draw in sketchbook which I carry with me everywhere. Illustrator is a tool just like a pencil, pad or canvas. So 90% of my work starts in sketch form and is then scanned or shot (iPhone) and pulled into the program.

BREAKING FRED, The Glorious Monster

Step Two: Inking the Sketch

When I’m inking in Illustrator its important for me to have a pressure sensitive brush that will allow me to create different line weights.  I felt having a varied line weight for this image would make the image look familiar to the source (The Flintstones) while still having my style shine through.

BREAKING FRED, The Glorious Monster

Step Three: Flat Color

This is the fastest step in the whole process since I had the colors already in mind. At times this takes a while because I’m figuring out the colors and defining what works. But for this I just sampled colors from Walter White in the suit then blocked out colors with the Pencil Tool. After these colors are placed I use the Arrow Tool and the Convert Anchor Point Tool to adjust the shape and placement of the color.

BREAKING FRED, The Glorious Monster

Step Four: Shadow 1

When laying down my first layer of shadows I really try to concentrate on the general direction of the lighting. This will set the ground work on all the lighting for the rest of the piece. I chose to use a simple overhead light source make the light pretty dramatic. Granted, my lighting isn’t exact but its effective and when you’re drawing a beloved cartoon character merged with a despised drug dealer, effective is what you’re looking for… :D

BREAKING FRED, The Glorious Monster

Step Five: Shadow 2

Now we’re cooking some Meth… or Pebbles… :| The second layer of shadows I use to create details in mask, beard and hoodie. There is a a couple of ways to add shadow and I used two different versions.

  1. Color Tints: is just taking darker version of the the colors and lay them down where needed. A majority of the shadows are done this way.
  2. Multiply: But what do you do when you need to cover two different areas with different colors? What you have to do is create  a grey shape and lay it over both colors then set that shape to ‘Multiply.’ This will create a transition from color to color while also creating the correct color shadows in each section. This effect was used on his cheek where the shadows go from his 5 o’clock shadow to this face.

I’ll go into this technique deeper in a later post.

BREAKING FRED, The Glorious Monster


Step Six: Highlights

Highlights are almost ALWAYS the last thing I add as I see it as the icing on the cake. Since the lighting isn’t really intense, I only added a few spots of highlights and a rim light with a slight lowered opacity to accent his face against this blue background. I chose that blue light as a representation of Heisenberg’s pure crystal meth.

BREAKING FRED, The Glorious Monster

Step Seven: Branding

Once the icing is on the cake you have to package it up before you ship it out and that’s what the branding is. On the internet your will end up in the craziest places so you always have to make sure your work is signed.

BREAKING-FRED, The Glorious Monster

That’s It!

I hope you enjoyed this little tour through my process of creating Breaking Fred and you learned a little something. If have questions please leave a message in comments so I check them often and will be replying to any left for me.

Thanks for reading and keep drawing.