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May 24, 2012

Blogging Break

I spent most of today drawing two whiteboard animations for a local charity client.  Annnd, that's pretty much all I have to say about my illustration work this week...

If you are thinking, "That is not much of an update." I agree!  Unfortunately, I need to take a short break from blogging because I am moving from Vermont to California one week from today!  It is a little stressful and everything is kind of on hold until I get re-settled on the West Coast.

So I thank you for your patience, Dear Readers, and I will do my best to get back in here with some new content as soon as possible!

May 15, 2012

Basewood Cover Design: Part 9

Last week I showed how I used watercolor paint to try and color the finished inks for the cover of Basewood.  By the time I was done with it, I was not happy with how it turned out, and I considered the hours and hours that I spent on that version yet another mistake in this process.

Though it was painful to do so, I started over from scratch and re-colored the entire cover digitally.  Here are the results, which I am much more happy with:

At my publisher's request, I shrunk the title a bit, because this book is going to be big.  I also made the inner rings of the title brown to help the overall shape pop a  bunch more.  I also went back to my original sketch idea and dropped the monster down to a full silhouette.  

Little things still may change here or there, but at this point, I'm sick of talking about it!  Hopefully it was useful for people to see this entire process from start to finish.  If anyone would like to read Basewood, it is still available in minicomic form on my website.

Next week it's back to the 100 Watercolors challenge!

May 9, 2012

Basewood Cover Design: Part 8

Earlier in this design process I talked about being stressed out by the idea of having to add color to Basewood, something I had never done before.  While my early color sketches were a mistake in terms of trying to figure out the composition of the cover, they were useful in helping me figure out the colors for the cover.

I thought that digital color would look too cold and mechanical, so I decided to do the cover colors using watercolors, a decision I felt comfortable with mostly because of my recent experiments in the 100 watercolors challenge.  I found a beautiful piece of 300 lb. cold-press Arches watercolor paper left over from my Pratt days and used a lightbox to pencil in the key elements of the cover, at size.  Here's what the raw scan looks like:

While the Arches was wonderful to paint on, it turns out that it was a bit too thick, and my lightboxed penciling was not nearly as accurate as I hoped it would be.  When I brought the colors into Photoshop and placed them under the lineart, the alignment was not even close.

I used the Clone Stamp Tool to repaint the edges of the different watercolor regions to match the lineart.   For instance, in the photo above, the trees and cliffs have been corrected to fit the lineart, but the clouds are still untouched.  It took hours to get all of the colors to synch up with the lineart.  Here is what the cover looked like after I was done:

Needless to say, I was not pleased with these results.  I like the warmth of the various textures in the grass, sky and cliffs, but everything is much too bright and there are lots of issues with the values here.  So then I went in and make very careful selections for every single region of the drawing.  This also took hours.  Here is just a part of my "corrections" adjustment layers folder:

With these, I was able to adjust the lightness, saturation and hue of each isolated region.  Cat Garza did a coloring demo in one of my classes once using this method, which was the only way I knew this technique.  At the time, it looked to me like a crazy way to work with color... and after all this hassle, I think I still stand by that assessment!  I will not be using this technique again any time soon.

So here is the color corrected version, which I sent off to the good folks at L'employ√© du Moi.  And can you guess what they said, Dear Readers?  Of course you can!  And so, even though we all thought this was going to be the last post in this series, it looks like there will be at least one more next week!

May 2, 2012

Basewood Cover Design: Part 7

Last week we saw the pencils of my Basewood cover and this week I have the inked version, with some placeholder text dropped in using Photoshop.
If you haven't picked up on it yet, I have been showing every single step of this cover design process to help buy me some time at the end of a very busy semester at CCS.  Next week I will post the final cover design, which will get me through graduation.  After that, I'll have more time to whip up some "regular" posts.  

Also, thanks to everyone who swung by and said hi at MoCCA this weekend!