Thursday, August 25, 2011

The one and only RAT FINK!

Howdy!  In between long pauses of productivity here at work, I was working on a sketch.  Early in the week I was looking up illustrations of hot rod monsters (you see them everywhere at car shows) and more importantly, "Big Daddy" Ed Roth's brainchild and mascot, Rat Fink.

Image courtesy of
Rat Fink was supposedly sketched on a napkin by Ed Roth, a Southern California resident, as a protest to the wholesome and prolific image of Mr.Mickey Mouse.  Everything about Rat Fink defied wholesome!  Covered in flies and stink lines, he was green and lumpy with razor sharp teeth, big buggy bloodshot eyes and a wagging tounge that just won't stay in his mouth.  He was gross and outrageous!  Needless to say Rat Fink was an instant hit among the Kar Kulture lovin' youngins of the 60's!

So, here is my foray into Hot Rod Monsters and my personal homage to Mr. Rat Fink presented to you in a semi-tutorial format.  I wanted to show exactly what went into this drawing!  I hope you enjoy it!

  First I started off with a pencil sketch
 I drew this by hand, while looking at a lot of different source images online. 

After the pencil sketch, I made an inked version that was clean of all pencil marks and scanned it into the computer.
Shortly after I scanned it in, I decided to change the size of the tires so I made another pencil sketch of just a the tires and scanned that in too.

I used layers in Photoshop to "mend" the two pics together.

After the two drawings were one, I took it over to Illustrator to do a quick "live trace" to smooth the pen-lines and I ended up with a nice clean outline drawing on a clear background (very important for coloring)

Now its time for the fun stuff!  I used a lot of layers in Photoshop during the coloring process.  I like to color beneath the actual outlines so they stay crisp & clean.  

This is what the color looks like without the outline layer visible.

It took a LONG TIME to get the colors,shades & textures set in, but I love this process.  It's like being a kid with a coloring book, and all the crayons in the world! 

 As soon as the colors were done, I started to experiment with different background options. I really liked this blue gradient and decided to explore what could be done with it! 

I thought that it looked like a night-scape so I added moon & stars above and pavement below.  Now it was really coming together!

 I wanted to add some text to it but I didn't want to use Photoshop fonts, I wanted them to be hand drawn like everything else.  I hit the internet again looking for more monster pics that had illustrated writing.  I liked the b-horror movie style and sketched out the "WHADDYA".  For the "Fink?" I emulated the style of Big Daddy himself and went with the classic Fink look.  I didn't know what to write at first, but the whole time I was working on this pic I was thinking what my friends would think of my first monster drawing, so "WHADDYA Fink?" seemed like a natural choice. So would you like to see the finished product?  

Click for a larger image! 

So friends, Whaddya Fink?
I think it turned out so darn good, but hey I'm biased! If you would like to learn more about Rat Fink and Big Daddy Ed Roth,you should check out the documentary Tales of Rat Fink.  It's pretty cool.  Check out the trailer below:


  1. That's crazy-cool what you can do! Great job Amber! :)

  2. amazing! I haven't an artistic bone in my body, nor will I ever have such computer skills as you. Bravo, it looks absolutely awesome!!

  3. Wow, girl! What an amazing job you did! And dead-on too. You have mad talent!

    I remember my dad having Rat Fink stickers when I was a kid and he still had some old cars.

  4. Beautiful work Amber, thanks for explaining the steps.

  5. I sure wish I could master Photoshop but it's just too complicated for my poor peabrain. You did an amazing job, Amber! I totally remember seeing Rat Fink all over the place when I was a kid in SoCal and was always fascinated by him and all the greasy Kar Kulture guys, even though I really wanted to be a surfer girl. You should make some stickers of your artwork and send some to your fans (hint hint).

  6. oh man this is totally awesome. i am a huge rat fink fan, i've always wanted to get a tattoo of him. you have maaad skillz giiiiirl!

  7. Hey Amber, I just remembered a very cool Rat Fink carousel that some guy built, thought you and others would enjoy this link

  8. I can't believe you did that with your own hands! Super, super, super great job, wow! And how neat was it to see the process step by step. Bravissimo!

  9. Wow! You're soooo talented. That's amazing. Let me know if you ever need a copywriter, I'm always looking for work. Also, drop me a line if you'd like to connect on Linked In.

  10. That is cool! It would be perfect on Jayson's rat rod trike!


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