Thursday, August 11, 2011
Okay, so, as I finish up some new art (and before I scan some recent sketches), I thought I'd drop this here. I'm a bit of a process-nerd, so I wrote up a step by step for my Avengers piece. From concept to final piece. You can find the colored, finished piece here.
Pardon some of the crappy pics – they’re in-process shots from my phone that I was posting on twitter (@phillipsevy).
1. Starting out, my main goal was Composition. Since this was a double page spread, I needed to make sure the overall comp was great and the individual page comp worked too. I used two different comp techniques. The red lines represent the “Rule of Thirds” (don’t quote me on any of the technical terms, I don’t know all the names and reasons, but I know how to use them (kinda)). Divide the page into thirds. Place major focal points at the intersections. The blue lines are where I used the Golden Spiral. A clockwise shape that brings your eye into the page and circles back to the middle. I made sure each page had those then applied the Golden Spiral to the entire piece. Yay! It worked.
2. From there, I took my little 2 inch by 1 inch thumb and redrew it onto two full-sized boards taped together. Because I was going to ink and color this, I just penciled in non-photo blue. I worked out most of my figures but not too much worry about the costume (I’d detail each character individually before I inked them to keep the energy up). Again, you can see that my compositional elements still pretty much worked. Composition is hard cause if you try too hard it looks really obvious.
3. And I’m off, starting with the larger foreground character (Black Widow). She turned out my least favorite out of all of them, unfortunately. But what can you do? At this point I’m inking with Pitt pens. I drop in some spot blacks here and there just for visual clarity, but will add the majority of large blacks later with a brush.
4. For Iron Man, I wanted him to look tech and awesome. So I drew nearly every damn line with a ruler or French curve. He was freakin’ precise. He turned out pretty clean and sleek.
5. I’m really just starting in the foreground and moving backwards. Parts of Giant Man and the Hulk.
6. Captain America and Wasp.
7. At this point, I’ve got my main linework done. One thing I paid close attention to was layering my black and white objects to create depth of field (the biggest tool you can use to make 2D look 3D). Main foreground (Iron Man) is white, step back and Black Widow is black, Hulk and Cap are white, and Giant Man is framing them with mostly black. Hawkeye is mostly black against a backdrop of white. Thor is dark against the same backdrop. And the ground under all of them is a lot of black, but with the detail, it becomes gray, pushing it into the background (visually).
8. I drop in blacks with a brush and Copic sketch marker. Another thing to notice is that no character stands on their own. They all intersect and overlap. Overlap is huge to depth of field. I’ve circled some of the intersecting positions. I made it a point to have Giant Man encircling everyone (in the huddle) to frame them all together. Overlap grounds your characters in relation to one another.
9. Pulled out my white gouche to make corrections and add smoke effect. I noticed that Giant Man looked like he was coming out the ground, so I added his back going back (to look like he’s laying instead). Fixed a few facial things as well.
10. Here is the scanned and cleaned up final B&W piece. Once in the computer I also moved Giant Man’s arm up. Before his one arm was twice the length of the other, so I tried to fix that digitally.
11. Once in Photoshop, I added my flats on two different layers. A background layer and a character layer. It makes it easier to make adjustments when they’re separate.
12. Then I rendered the crap out of everything. I color using the Hi-Fi method (go BUY the book – it’s EXCELLENT), so I use a brush set to Screen mode and use a lot of cuts and gradients. One thing I planned for (and colored accordingly) is light source. I have the light from Thor’s hammer, the light from Hawk’s exploding arrow, and the combined light of Iron Man’s blast and Black widow’s gun. I made sure to color with that in mind the entire time.
13. Once my rendering is done, I add some color holds. I color-holded the entire background (so to make it fade back) and my effects (blasts and the like). Originally I thought I would color hold the whole ground and loads of other stuff, but by the time I got to this point, I realized that it didn’t need it.
14. The final step was to add some effects. I knew the whole time that the main effect would be Thor’s lightning, so I colored in preparation for that. And who doesn’t love some Iron Man repulsor glow?
And, that’s that. All in all, about 9-10 hours to draw it and about 9 hours to color. A lot, yes, but consider the size – 22 x 17. Pretty darn big.