Driving home for Christmas!

The Christmas Cover for New Scientist

Although some interesting projects come along at Fiverr Pro, I also get a lot of commissions outside the service. Some come from existing customers who like my merchandise artwork and request something new or commercial. One such client requested I render out this years (2019) Christmas cover for New Scientist magazine. This would be the third visit to the cover for the prominent British magazine, and this time was aimed to be better than ever.


The outline of the brief, set by New Scientist, was a simple, to create a posed illustration that combined several of the edition’s articles into a capsulated image. For this edition there were articles about an octopus that did traffic duty, the famous dodo bird and reindeers, so, the art director briefed me to do a Citroën car in the style of this one, and render the animals sitting in it with some Christmas festivity all about.



The concept was simple to begin with. Like all New Scientist briefs, they start with relatively ambiguous outlines and then during the sketching and rendering, they often change their minds. This was the case again in this one. We first had a husky dog, which was swapped to a dodo, then the reindeer had to have both eyes covered, then after rendering started one eye was uncovered. The type of octopus wasn’t revealed until rendering started, and the champagne was switched to a cocktail. But apart from all this, the concept, as always, had to squeeze onto a tight cover area, so it was a challenge.


The sketch was made after doing a reference drawing from some photos of the elements, and a SketchUp model of a Citroën was utilised to make the car more dynamic. Nothing was said about the tentacles of the octopus apart from the glass, so I took it upon myself to add a triangle for Christmas cheer, and then a later request was made to have a vintage car horn placed in one of the other hands. So, the sketching took a little longer, and the use of layers in Photoshop allowed the changes to be implemented quite quickly. In the end the rendering was quite leasable to do, and I even found time to do variations including some overlay snow.

The Details

  • Client: Craig Mackie (New Scientist)
  • Illustration Tool: Photoshop CC 2019
  • File size: 484.1Mbs/2.99Gbs (open)
  • Layers: 85 uncompressed
  • Dimensions: 11429 x 15000px/300dpi
  • Hours (Preparitory): 2.5 hrs
  • Digital rendering: 45 hrs


As part of my typical rendering process I have made a time-lapse rendering process video. You can see it by simply clicking the Subscribe button and join my YouTube channel. I would appreciate the follows, as in the near future I will be doing new tutorials as well as uploading many time-lapse pieces of my works.


In 2020 Rob Art will be starting a Patreon Page. Please feel free to visit and become a patron of my work.



If interested in having an art piece done you can visit my Fiverr Pro account here, or like any of my caricature or animal art, please visit my online store for details.

all work copyright © Rob Art | illustration 2021
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rob art | illustration
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