In a recent interview with Mashable, an artist based in the United Kingdom, Kyle Lambert, divulged his process of creating the memorable poster art for Netflix's science fiction series Stranger Things. Netflix asked the artist to keep with the 80's theme of the show, and provided him with a vague plot outline, rough cuts of only the first few episodes, and some still shots "to communicate the story in a single image."
Ultimately, Lambert said he decided on the iPad Pro for the project because the tablet lets him "sketch in a very natural way," especially when used in conjunction with the Apple Pencil. He used the Apple device in the sketching process of the main poster art that has gained fame online in the weeks since Stranger Things launched in July, but Lambert has also been known to create impressive art on iPads over the years, particularly in a photorealistic representation of Morgan Freeman he created on an iPad Air in 2013.
"This was a very exciting project for me, as an artist that trained with oil paints, I really enjoyed the challenge of reproducing this traditional painting style using digital tools," Lambert told Mashable.
"I used the iPad Pro to do the preliminary composition ideas and the sketch that became the final Stranger Things poster. I chose to use the iPad Pro for the drawing stage of the poster because I find that I am able to sketch in a very natural way on the device using the Apple Pencil. The device in general is nice to hold for long periods of time, it is really portable and Procreate, the app that I used, has some really great Pencil brushes for drawing with."
Specifically, on the iPad Pro Lambert used the iOS app Procreate to assist in his drawing process, and then he transitioned to Photoshop on the Mac to upscale the image to a higher resolution so he could "paint small elements at the best possible resolution." During the coloring process, the artist used an Intuos Wacom tablet -- which connects to a Mac to act as a sketch pad -- so he could "focus on as much of the image" as he needed, without his hand obscuring a piece of the artwork like it does when using the iPad Pro/Apple Pencil combo.
The original sketch that eventually became the final Stranger Things poster
The process wasn't particularly straightforward, however, as Lambert describes moving back to the iPad Pro to "add layers of detail to areas" that he thought needed "a more fluid sketch style" that the desktop didn't grant. He went back and forth between the two devices and applications several times to ultimately give the Stranger Things poster its finished, recognizable look. Lambert was also commissioned to work on several character portraits to serve as gifts for actors, specifically those of Sheriff Hopper, Eleven and Dr. Brenner, and various still shots from iconic moments in the 8-episode series.
Ever since early adopters began getting their hands on the iPad Pro and its companion stylus, the Apple Pencil, talented artists have shared what they can do with the technology in MacRumors' own discussion forums. Apple has remained adamant that the Apple Pencil is a drawing-enhancement tool, and "will absolutely not replace the finger as a point of interface" on the tablet, so it's interesting to see how much the technology has grown and been used, and on such a highly professional level, in under a year of its availability.