Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Beyond the Western Deep Pinup process

Alex Kain, who wrote the Legends Vol 1 story "Potential" has been writing a talking-animal webcomic for a few years. The series is called Beyond the Western Deep and is drawn by Rachel Bennett. This year Alex and Rachel are going to be publishing their first collection of the series. The physical book will be first released at the Boston Comic Con in August and available online afterwards (To the left is Rachel's work-in-progress cover)
I contributed a pinup for the collection, and today's blogpost is the process of how I went about making the artwork.

My first step was to decide what to focus on for a pinup. There are several characters, and while I was tempted to do a piece featuring the less prominent ones, I did in the end decide to feature two of the main cast Quinlan & Dakkan. With the Legends of the Guard connection between Alex and I, I thought it would be nice to have this pair in a tavern setting. Each of the characters and the background were drawn on separate sheets of copy paper, then scanned into Photoshop, tinted, and placed into a template for the pinup's specs. This allows me to shuffle around the pieces individually, resize them if needed, and get my placement just the way I want it. The Celtic knot was a low-res pattern I found online, modified and repeated as top and bottom borders.

With the layout set, I printed the piece out (on two sheets of legal paper that I taped together) and taped it to the back of a sheet of 12" x 12" Strathmore 300 series bristol. On a lightbox I'm able to see through the bristol to the printout and use it as a guide while I ink. For pens I used Copic Multiliners (the 0.7 & 0.2 nibs). I can't take credit for the character, costume, or tavern design since I really just followed Rachel's work, but I did try to make sure I was drawing my piece with my own voice, my own line quality and texture sensibility.

The finished inks were then scanned and in Photoshop I started flatting the colors for the piece. Flatting colors is all about establishing color areas. Making one character's fur a different color than the others or than their clothes or than the walls. It's a grown-up version of coloring-within-the-lines. In some cases, I use really garish and wrong colors when I flat because I don't want to get bogged down with color choices when I just need to establish the different areas. In this case though, most of the palate was already there for me in Rachel's art in the series.

The last step was to render all the color. I added highlights, shadows and texture for the piece using the Dodge and Burn tools with a textured Photoshop brush. A few color holds and special effects layers were added to make the lanterns glow and Quinlan's sash look embroidered.

You can go now and read all of Beyond the Western Deep now for free on the website, but the physical copy (with pinup material etc) will be coming to print at Boston Con.

2014 Appearances:
Comicpalooza: May 23-25
Heroes Con: June 20-22
San Diego Comic Con: July 23-27
Boston Comic Con: August 8-10
NY Comic Con: Oct. 9-12


mamafrog said...

Just out of curiousity, and I got here from Western Deep, is Legends of the Guard readable online or is it only in bookform? Looks like a great one to add to my lists, if so!

DPetersen said...

MamaFrog: Legends are available digitally on Comixology and Drivetrough RPG

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