As I started this project, I did a Google image search for watches. However, one thought kept coming to my mind: Do something you are passionate about. Brother Kerr said that to our class as we begun our Icon sets. I applied it to this project. I chose a watch from my favorite television series: Heroes. This watch was put together and worn by the show’s lead antagonist, who took upon himself the name: Sylar.
Brother Kerr said that one of the requirements of this project is that it must be a working watch that can tell time. So I went with the version of the watch before it was broken on the show:
This was one of the images I referenced while creating the basic face of the watch. I started with the face. I created a black circle (which I later added Cyan to). I then added the minute marks and the triangles. Then came the numbers. The interesting thing about the numbers, they are not all the same font. I couldn’t find one font that had a “4” that I liked, as well as the “11” without any serifs, and a “7” with the proper curve. There are several different fonts in the makeup of this watch.
The image to the right is another example of an image I reference, in fact, this is the image I referenced the most. It appears it is a picture taken from a replica. It was difficult to follow because it is not perfectly head on, like the image of my vector graphic. Ultimately, I also slightly changed to shape of the glass. It was never my intention to leave the minute hand on the six like this. I eventually used the rotate tool to move the hand around the center of the watch.
The next thing I did was create some reflections and metallic surface. The light is coming from the bottom left, and just slightly a different angle from the reference image. The glass was difficult and underwent several drafts before the final project. You can see that in this image above, there are far more circle shapes than in the draft above this one. You will also see, that in the end, many more circles were added, to improve the complexity of the light and shadow. Shortly after I made this, Brother Kerr reminded us that there is no such things as white and black, and so from here on out, my colors began having 3% Cyan–most noticeably, you will see the difference in the black watch face–now appearing more blue.
You will also notice that I began working on the hands. Look at the difference between the minute hand and the hour hand. Later, I added the second hand.
Before I ever touched Illustrator though, and to better understand the shape of the watches, I tested out many sketches. I tried to be creative, I also tried to just draw a basic watch. You can see I’m not much of an artist when it comes to using a pen and paper, however, it facilitated the creativity that went into the final watch:
After getting to a spot I was happy with, with the main watch piece, I began working on the outer base of the watch. It was very difficult to get the gradients to look good on the outer portion of the watch. All the while, I was making tweaks and adjustments on the inner watch.
I then created the dial, by watching Brother Kerr’s video about creating the dial. I followed some of the same tricks, learning new things about Illustrator, however, I did it my own way as to fit the style of the watch. I spent a great deal of time working on this. I also began to focus on the pin that held the hands together. It is interesting to note the detail that is in just that portion of the watch.
Last, I began working on the bands. I found a fabric texture that I liked. I followed one of Brother Kerr’s video tutorials on YouTube, and I adjusted the image to be black and white in Adobe Photoshop. I copied it into Illustrator, and used the automated trace feature to create a vector of the texture. I then created a pattern, and used this as the fill of the watch. I was very happy with the way it looked. Originally, I had a gap between the bands and the main time-piece, but I did not like the look of it. So, I moved the bands snugly underneath the time-piece. I had to adjust the gradient shadows I had already created, to fit the new design of the watch band. I used the image as a reference for the shape of the bands (just the shape, not the texture, or stitching or anything else):
In the end, I adjusted the bands further, but this above image was a great start.
While creating the bands, I made further adjustments to the outer base, as well as minor adjustments to the main time-piece. Posting these images on our class Slack page, I received some critique, which I followed. There were some comments about the window, and centering it in the white box, which I did not do because I had initially done this intentionally.
I’ve noticed, while editing in CYMK in Illustrator, exporting in CYMK has a different look and color to it than I intended. In this image above, it appears darker than what I see in Illustrator, and more blue. I like the blue look, but I don’t like the bands so dark.
Even though the project wasn’t due until Friday, I tried to get as much done as possible because I knew I was scheduled to work on Friday. So I stayed up until 2 in the morning, working on the above draft. I came home from work and was able to make a few more adjustments based on critiques I had received. Here is my final image:
The highlight in the bottom left portion of the metal, is different in this one than the previous. The most noticeable difference, however, between this one and the previous draft is the subtle curves on the outer base of the watch, where the pin holds the band in place. In the previous draft, they come to a flat stop. In this one, they have a more natural curve. This was one of the last adjustments I made to the watch.
Now, if you are fan of the show, you might be tempted to say that this watch is beating 2 seconds slow, but the key to making this watch in Illustrator is… understanding how things work…