March 8, 2014

Fantastic Adventures Step by Step

Step 1: Thumbnails! I worked up a couple pages of these, but it turned out the ones I was most interested in were on page 1. Sometimes that's the way it goes, and sometimes you don't land on a good idea until page 4 or 5.

Step 2: Once I had the rough idea, I scanned it in and started throwing some ink around. Just trying to get a feel for the level of detail that I wanted. For this piece I'm hoping to lean a bit towards the great Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes) so I'm trying to keep my lines fairly open.

Step 3: Color Test: At this point I wanted to check through the brush options in CSP to make sure that I could easily accomplish the color style that I was hoping for. I used the Transparent Watercolor tool for this, and the rest of the color work. Quite happy with the feel and the speed I was able to work. Think I'll be coming back to this in the future.

Step 4: Time to explore some ideas and figure out what it is that I'm doing with the rest of the piece. I knew that I wanted to have a dragon in there somewhere, but I've been challenging myself to keep things very subtle with the RCK pieces, so I was dreaming up ways to imply dragon without actually putting a dragon in from of the Kid and his buddy.

Step 5: This is the last bit of time that I dedicated solely to linework. Connecting loose lines in the clouds, adding in a weapon for the Knight, and trying to fill out the open space in the top third of the image. I ended up coming back into this a fair bit once I stated painting, but it was always because I had a new idea that sprang from the use of color. 
Step 6: Not quite flats. With a lot of my pieces my first step with color is to go through and flat, and when I'm trying out a painterly approach I don't usually spend much time on linework, as it tends to get lost once I paint over it. This time I was working towards a painterly feel, with inks on top, and wasn't really certain of the best way to proceed. So I just threw down some color and figured I'd sort it out as I went along. At this stage I want to ensure that my main character stands out, and that the secondary focus (the dragon face) comes across as well.

Step 7: Rounding out the forms with some light and shadow, and I feel like it's starting to come together. I still feel like the top portion could use some love, as the lower two thirds are quite detail heavy, but otherwise I'm pretty happy. I've kept to a relatively simple style, pushed into some crazy perspective, played around with a new color tool, and have brought it all together a lot faster that I was able to produce the previous RCK piece.

Step 8: I removed the bleed box from the image, and started detailing the background, laying in patches of farmland, and some green spaces. I also added in the upper clouds in an attempt to build a path from the top left corner down into the Kid. And since I was nearing the end of the piece I thought it best to slap in my sig, as I've managed to forget it from time to time. 

Step 9: Last up, I saturated the colors, did a round of cleaning up lines and other small details (like the tangent between the sword and the cloud) and added in the shadow from the Kid. All in all I think it's looking good, though staring at it now all I can see are the changes I woulda/shoulda/coulda, but such is life.

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