Friday, January 31, 2014

The Making of "The Wellkeeper" Poster

I recently created a hybrid watercolor/ink piece of art for "The Wellkeeper". This art is for use both as a poster for promotional purposes, and eventually for the cover art of the omnibus collection that will contain all 12 issues of the series.

As I was drawing this piece, I took pictures throughout the process and thought it would be fun to share that process again with you all. Hope you enjoy.

STEP 1: The Idea

All good pieces of art (and most crappy ones too) begin with a couple of rough sketches in a note pad. This piece is no different.
The final design used elements from a few of these combined.

STEP 2: The Rough Pencils

In this case, VERY rough, blue line pencils. I prefer working in light blue, non-repro blue pencils to lay down my roughs even when I will  have to erase them. The light color and less smeary line is easier to work with for me. Partly because of the next steps. Please forgive the TERRIBLE photo as the faint blue lines are very hard to capture well.
Yes, I ink from pencils this loose.

STEP 3: Colored Inking

For colored pieces like this that will be colored with some traditional medium like watercolors, I like to use PRISMACOLOR colored ink pens. They allow me to play to my strengths (rendering and cross hatching) without overwhelming the colors. I discovered a while ago, that once you ink with these, the pencil lines below the inks won't erase. It's another reason why I use the light blue pencils.

At this stage, I ink only the external lines leaving rendering and details for later.

STEP 4: Sepia Inking

Once the PRISMACOLOR lines are down, I use Faber Castell Sepia PITT pens to lay in most of the rendering that doesn't require a specific color. (Like Zoe's Magenta hair.)

And the green for the grass, etc.

STEP 5: Finished Inks

Does this really NEED an explanation. Using both the sepia pens and the PRISMACOLOR pens, I finish up all the details that require inking prior to moving on to paint.
Ta Da!

STEP 6: Watercolors

Now, for the watercolors, I actually prefer working with the cheep stuff. lol. I have a set of Prang Oval-16 that I got at Michael's. I learned using Doc Martin's dyes, but those are a little closely, and as this was largely experimental for me, I decided to start simple and work my way up to the fancy tools. 
I layered about 4 different colors for Zoe's hair.

STEP 7: Watercolors Cont.

Watercolors can be a pain because you can only build color UP. You can't paint LIGHT colors in watercolor over dark colors easily, so you need to plan out your values and try and keep everything clear, a concept I'm still struggling with.
The finished watercolors, lacking necessary depth.

STEP 8: Colored Pencils & White Gel Pens

Once the watercolors are complete, I pull out my handy dandy PRISMACOLOR colored pencils and white gel pen. I touch up areas of fine detail and rendering and use the WHITE to render in the blast lines radiating from Zoe's hands that help push the Withering Man's skull-mask and Grandma Luludja into the background more. 

A Faber Castell white opaque brush pen also helps me rim light Zoe's hair and the Raccoons, Lily and Sebastian.
The white really helps to define the shapes better.

STEP 9: The Finishing Touches

Like most artists, I'm a glutton for punishment and never feel like I've done the best that I can do. As such, this painting was given a SLIGHT touch up in Adobe Photoshop for the final poster/cover.

I blended in some of the colors on Zoe's face and arm better, added a harder drop shadow on the Raccoons to pop them out more and added some colored highlights to them. I manipulated the field of color behind Zoe to plug blues and purples from behind Granny and the Withering Man to separate her a little more and added some hot spots to the white light around her hands.

A few tweaks here and there helped to bring it closer to what I imagined in my head.

That all said, I hope you dig it!


Big Rick said...

Great work, thanks for sharing your process. I mainly work in copics but I'm considering work with some watercolors.

Dee Fish said...

Oh, I wish I could justify the cost of Copics. lol