Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Frog 5x7" Print Process

For 2017 I'll be introducing a lot of new 5"x7" matted prints to my convention appearances and in my online store. Fans have been enjoying the Saxon, Gwendolyn, Sadie, and Kenzie prints in the same format, so in addition to adding more guardmouse characters for 2017, I'm also adding more animals/scenes.

In this post, I'll be sharing the process of creating the frog and mouse artwork to the left from concept to finished colors.

Julia and I made a list of the type of animals that would work well in this format. On her list of suggestions was "something like the frog and mouse-harvester on the cover of my 2015 sketchbook". Looking directly to that piece of artwork, I set to doing a piece that would fit the taller orientation and have a less tropical-looking frog species while making the frog more the focal point than the mouse.

I drew a frog (using some online reference for a northern leopard frog) and the mouse on separate sheets of copy paper. I assembled them all in Photoshop tinting each character a different color to help me see where one character started and the other ended. The outer line is a pre-set template I've made for this size of print so that it will float in the mat nicely...though, I'm not working at actual size, I'm working larger, but the proportions are right so that when the final version is printed to scale, everything will fit inside the mat.

I printed out the photoshop assembled layout and taped it to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol and inked on a lightpad. I use a Huion lightpad that allows me to see the printout through the surface of the bristol. This means that on the surface of the bristol will only be my inks, no pencil lines to erase (though sometimes, I do tighten up the pencils a bit as I work if the layout sketch is too loose). For pens I used Copic Multiliners, the 0.7 & 0.3 nibs. All of the grass I did on the fly as I inked.

Once the inks are scanned, I start the process of flatting the piece for color. This means laying in flat color (no concerns with shading or texture) to establish that areas like the frog's skin will be a different color than the rock, grass, of the mouse, etc.

Once the flat colors are in I start rendering each area using the dodge and burn tools (lighten and darken) with a textured brush. I also added some color holds on those stars/will-o-whisps in the background.

Here again is the finished colored artwork. This print and many more will be available at any of my convention appearances this year was well as in my online store.

For process posts on previous prints:

2017 Appearances: 
C2E2: April 21-23
Heroes Con: Jun. 16-18
San Diego Comic Con: July 19-23
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 22-24

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