In the olden days, tightly-rendered art would have been created with an airbrush and masks, and would have taken quite a while. Fortunately we live in modern times and such artwork can now be created using Adobe Illustrator.
Every illustration starts with a sketch, usually more than one. For 5BILLZ I did four quick sketches of different angles (working from photos supplied by the client). The client selected sketch #4. From there, I imported the sketch into Illustrator to serve as a reference point, then I created outlines for the whole truck as well as for each particular object and shadow. The process required a few stops and starts and adjustments along the way, and not a little bit of experimentation with the highlights and color builds.
The process took about 15 hours all told, which was more than I anticipated. You never know with projects like these just how involved they will become in Illustrator, though I wonder how long it would have taken in the old days with an airbrush. In such a comparison, it’s possible the only thing saved are messy fingers and time for cleanup.
Here’s a quick video showing the progression of the 5BILLZ illustration.