How I updated my NAS Print RMX

How I updated my NAS Print RMX

In order to talk about this piece i need to start with some context. Initially, this illustration was created for OKAYPLAYER as part of their ‘Behind the Beat’ series that dove into the back story of famous Hip-Hop songs from the last thirty years. Instead of just focusing on the lyrics, the writer, Thomas Hobbs, interviewed the producers and engineers that created the music and melodies that were the backbone of these famous songs.

In this story, we took a look at one of Nas’ most famous songs “The World is Yours.” You can read the full story here Behind the Beat: How Pete Rock & Nas Made Hip-Hop Perfection with "The World is Yours"

Are you back? You did come back right? COOL!

When creating this piece I wanted to capture the likeness and composure of NAS at the age he wrote this song while also paying homage to reference of the hooks “the world is yours” origin, Scarface. In the original piece you can see NAS sitting by the pool that would be the end of Tony’s career with the golden statue of the women holding the globe behind him.

When you’re a commercial artist/Digital Mercenary, time isn’t always on your side you have to make concessions in order to make deadlines. Most of the time I have about a week to create these illustrations. At the time I was working full-time while also being a part-time, full-time Dad while also taking on these side illustrations, every project felt like a tight turn around. The best advice I could give you or myself in a situation like this is to focus on the most important aspect of the illustration. For me that was NAS foremost and the background second.

I was able to complete the illustration, meet the deadline, with everyone happy. Except me. The statue that plays a huge role in making this piece was done so quickly and simply due to time constraints. The same can be said about the lighting that hits across his face as a rim light. It works but it can be better. When I decided to make a print of this piece, I had my chance to update the shortcomings of the original. Enter the RMX. (remix)

Whenever I update a piece that has already been posted or shipped it is labeled a RMX in order to establish this is something different. With this RMX there are some big changes.

The first change is I went back and updated the statue completely from scratch. I threw out the old illustration and did a new draft using new reference. The OG illo was created quickly and with little attention. I was putting a general idea in the background when it needed to be developed more. The new statue has more detail and holds up when see up close or from a far. The original Globe was just a circle with some lighting on it but with the update I added a world map to it along with rendering depicting bevel/embossing along the continents.

The second change was updating the lighting based on what I’ve learned about my style and how light works that was absent from the OG. I do like how the light in the OG was subtle but it faded into the art when I want it to stand out more. Plus, it didn’t wrap around his whole head and stopped at his hairline which isn’t how light works, lol. He also has a green light that was “supposed” to be a reflection from the water which doesn’t make any sense.

The lighting across the whole piece was replaced with a consistent neon rim light that travels up his arm, across his face, ending at the top of his head. The final change was adjusting the overlay texture that added a green tint to it and muddied the work just slightly. I lowered the opacity to let the artwork stand out more and increase the brightness allowing the colors to be more vibrant.

Those were my goals and the process in which I updated this illustration. These changes, in my opinion were not only necessary but elevate this print in a way that it screamed “this ain’t even my final form!!!” After that bad joke, I’ll take my leave but i’ll say this. As an artist, your work is done when you say it is. That may be at the deadline, or years later after that. You create this world, and if you didn’t know… The world is yours…


Prints of this illustration can be purchased here at 11x14

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