Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Baltimore Yearbook 2016: Archie Process

The Baltimore Comic Con has an anual tradition of publishing a Yearbook, each year featuring a comic property or title, and asking the guest artists to contribute a pinup in their own style (or also mashing in their characters). Last year, I was fortunate enough for Mouse Guard to have been the focus of the Yearbook. This year that honor has gone to Archie. The book will be available at the Baltimore Convention and probably on their website afterwards.

On the left you can see my finished Archie piece, but below, I've gone through and shown the process and steps.

Rough pencils/layout: To be fair, I've skipped a step before this one, which was mentally prepping what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to do a classic 40's Archie. I love listening to old time radio from that era, and it was the older Archie stuff collected in Archie Digests my sisters had that I liked the most. Would I just draw Archie, would I draw Betty or Veronica (an idea quickly nixed because I'm rubbish at drawing attractive ladies) Jughead made my mental list at one point, and so did Arch's Jaloppy...but I then honed in on Archie trying to decide which of his dates to call. To make the 40's motif more obvious, I used the old telephone exchanges you hear in OTR and old movies (Betty's in a common sounding one while Veronica's sounds exclusive) The rough pencils were layered together with a stock plaid pattern (wallpaper) and a Riverdale pendant (which I had to typeset) and the girls' handwriting.

I then printed out that rough and taped it to the back of a sheet of Strathmore bristol. On my lightbox I drew over the outlines on the fresh bristol (using the printout as a guide) and then turned off the lightbox and gently rendered the shading. This is the same technique I used when doing my Gotham Academy short story.

All of the shading was done with a mechanical pencil with HB lead, a traditional pencil with F lead, a kneaded eraser, and a tortillon (blending stick). Getting the overall values (the lights the darks, the midtones and everything in-between) is the tricky part, something I struggled with on Gotham Academy and I still see I could work on here.

The coloring process is different on this type of piece than my traditional inked covers or Mouse Guard. Instead of the color layers going underneath the art set to layer mode 'multiply', here, the art sits at the bottom on 'normal' and the color layer(s) go on top set to mode 'color'. Photoshop will then use the hue & saturation (not the value) of what you paint and display it in the value (light/dark) of what's underneath.

Here again is the final step, all colored. The original pencils will be offered up in the Auction at Baltimore Comic Con and the Yearbook full of Archie themed pieces by the guests of the show will be available for purchase there as well.

Hope to see you in Baltimore.

2016 Appearances:

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