Over the past 6 days, I’ve been working my ‘normal’ job as the artist/muralist for Tijuana Flats. We remodeled a location in the Tampa area (Westchase, to be exact), and because it’s a remodel of a location that’s currently open, we have the super fun task of working overnights. Usually 10pm to around 8 or 9 am. Sometimes later!
This time around, the existing mural was pretty small, so the higher-ups wanted to expand the wall, and use existing non-mural walls for a new mural. The only problem with this was… there’s a bunch of corners! The wall jets out and has doorways and all sorts of craziness.
Being the professional that I am, I gladly excepted the challenge and worked up something that would work from any angle you would see the mural at. Because, at some angles, you won’t see ALL of the mural at once. Hard!
Here’s the wall layout, so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about…
There’s the archway to the bathrooms, the hot bar (or, if you’re not on the up-and-up with Tijuana Flats, it’s a bar full of different kinds of hot sauce!), and then a wall with a tv. So, what to do?
Zombies! I won’t lie, it’s loosely inspired by the Walking Dead. More homage than anything else. The far left side of the mural is less detailed than the right side, due to the fact that our Hot Bar logos and signs will be installed on the wall. I didn’t want anything “important” being obscured!
On to painting. I’ll spare you the backbreaking labor it takes to get this done, so let’s just skip to the finished product!
There it is. Took roughly 2 and a half nights to finish it up. I was under the weather the entire time, so that slowed me down. However, I believe it’s one of the best murals I’ve painted yet! You never really get to fully experience or appreciate the size of these things in photos. If you find yourself in Tampa, you should stop by and check it out.
Bonus if you like tacos!
I just completed my 19th mural (I think… hard to keep track at this point) for Tijuana Flats, down in Hollywood, FL.
Here’s how it all happens.
Here’s the store, about 3 weeks ago. Mural wall has a coat of primer on it, but that’s about it. The store is in complete disarray (as usual!), but that’ll all change soon enough. That big wooden box here in front is actually the back of the Hot Bar.
Time to sketch.
Click the image for a wayyyyy bigger version!
Here’s my sketch for the wall. This was done using my new fancy Wacom Cintiq tablet and Manga Studio EX 4. I call this a sketch, even though to most of you, it probably looks like a finished illustration. I’ve learned that while some stuff looks great at smaller sizes, sometimes it looks like poop when it’s on the wall. You’ll see what I’m getting at later.
I’m pretty much given free reign over what I want to draw, and then it’s up to Big Taco (Brian Wheeler, the T-Flats creator and boss man) if he likes it enough to become a mural.
This time around, I just combined two things I like… Indiana Jones and girls. Easy enough, right? Easy basic concept for everyone of all ages to enjoy!
Big Taco liked it, so we move on to the next stage.
Click the image for a much bigger version!
This was last Tuesday night (Oct. 19). I use an old teacher’s projector that I purchased off Craigslist (I now have 3 different ones!) to get the mural on the wall. I print out the black and white sketch onto transparencies (which cost an arm and a leg for a pack of 20), and then go straight onto the wall with a huge ass Sharpie marker
The marker lets me see the drawing on the wall under the paint, which eventually gets painted over with black paint.
You can click this one for a big version!
Once I get all the base colors on, it’s time for shading (highlights and shadows and all that) and then onto the black outlining, which, in comic book terms, would be called “inking”. The “x’s” you see are indicating where it’s gonna be black.
Getting close to being done!
Bigger version! Clicky click it.
I hate the left side of the mural. It’s not working for me. It’s not as interesting as the right side.
As you can see on the sketch, it’s a broken pillar with vines creeping up it. However, when I tried to paint the vines and the pillar, all hell broke loose and it ended up looking like… well… ass. Plus, it was kind of crooked too. I hate straight lines. So, when this happens, there’s only one thing to do.
Perform surgery on the mural.
A couple coats of white paint, and no one ever has to see how terrible it was. Seriously, if I had left it, I would have been ashamed to ever step foot back in this location.
But what to put over here? It needs to fit into this space, plus, it needs to fit into the theme of the mural…
Perfect! One of those blue goblins skulls on a stake. That works. Plus, it’s creepy.
And with that, it’s finished!
Click any of these for bigger versions.
Hope you enjoyed this little tour of how this mural came together!