I had the pleasure of recently being commissioned to create a banner for the graduating class at Palm Beach State College's Fire Academy in Florida.
The Client was asking for the Iron Giant (the chosen name of the class) in fire gear holding both an axe and a halligan. The design was to be printed in the middle of a 8' X 4' banner with the names of the graduates on each side and the names of instructors in the middle with the graphic. The printed banner is to remain hanging along with the previous class designs.
Since I was informed the number of colors weren't limited, I decided to use a bunch of gradients and work with blending modes inside of Illustrator. This always seems to create a great variety of rich darks in the shadows.