Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Table Titans Fanart Process

Table Titans is a webcomic by Scott Kurtz & Bryan Hurtt (colors by Steve Hammaker). It's about a group of friends playing D&D, and while that may sound like a very narrow story, it's a really fun and accessable comic more about adventure and friendships and personality-types than anything game-specific. It also drives home a point I think is important with RPGs...that the rules are only there as structure so the players and GM can have fun telling a memorable story together. Because I enjoyed the strip so much, I did this piece of fanart for Scott. Today's blogpost I share the process of painting the piece.
The first step was to sketch out all the characters and come up with a composition that looked good. I decided to have each character appear as their in-game persona because the costumes are more fun. Each character was drawn separately in my sketchbook (each taking up a page). The scanned sketches were then tinted in photoshop and shuffled around until a usable layout appeared. At this stage I was also able to do some digital fixing of my drawings by mirroring the images and making sure the eyes were at the same height on the face, while also making subtle tweaks to get expressions the way I wanted.
The plan for this piece was to watercolor the characters rather than do my normal inks & digital colors. I printed out the layout and then on a liughtbox traced the lines in pencil onto a sheet of 300 series bristol board. I then start with the light and subtle areas of facial tones in watercolor. I use a travel kit of Sakura Koi Watercolors, and the orange cake is a really good stand alone base for light-skinned color tones (though tinting each with a bit of other tones to mute and offset that orange makes for more realistic colors)

For the rest of the piece I work around usually going from light areas to dark areas, and moving over to dry areas while wet areas dry. Here's a shot of each character in-progress:

Here is the group after I had done all the watercolor work. And as much as I like painting, and subtlety, I rarely feel like one of my watercolors looks 'finished' without line added. I am a line guy...and fighting it would be silly. So the next step was to go back over the pencils an ink in the line work adding some minor details and textures.

So here again is the finished piece with inkwork. If you enjoyed it and/or like Roleplaying, consider reading Table Titans from the beginning, it's really fun and well made.

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


Jonathan Nassar said...

I've been in Houston every Memorial Day... except this one. I hope you had enough fun at Comicpalooza to come back next year!

Andy said...

Long-time fan of your work!! Quick question, how do you choose your color palette for your pieces? The colors are one of my favorite aspects of your style. Subtle but it all goes together so nicely! You clearly put a lot of thought into the palette, so wondering about your method.
Also, after speaking with you at Emerald City ComicCon 2013, I have finally started my own webcomic (Ozette, on Tumblr.)! Thank you for the words of encouragement and inspiration. I look to your process posts for education. Keep em coming!!

DPetersen said...

Andy: For this piece, I went with the colors pretty much spelled out for me in the comic. Beyond that, I tend to never use straight colors out of the watercolor tray/tube, I always do a bit of mixing, and I never use black, I mix my own out of various browns and blues.

Andy said...

Thank you!!

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