Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Baltimore Yearbook: Strangers In Paradise

As an annual tradition at the Baltimore Comic Con the organizers put together a 'Yearbook' typically celebrating a creator owned comic property that the guests of the show pay homage to with a piece of artwork. This year (the seventh year of the tradition) The work of Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise, Echo, Rachel Rising, and Motor Girl) is the theme.

To the left you can see my finished piece of the main Strangers in Paradise characters playing the Mouse Guard board game Swords & Strongholds.
Below I'll walk though the steps to create the piece.

So, you may be as surprised as I was about the piece being human women. No animals in clothes, no creatures, no craggy dwarves...but pretty (I hope) ladies. I wanted to do Terry's characters justice and as they appear in his works...and I wanted to stretch my wings a bit and force myself out of my comfort zone....but again, I don't normally draw stuff like this...so I looked up reference. I had an idea to exemplify the romantic & friendship tension between the characters by having them play a board game or cards...I searched for 'women playing chess' and found this stock photo.

I then reoriented the image so it fit the book's dimensions. On my lightpad I worked out the anatomy basing it on a printout of the stock photo...but I needed it to look right in my type of linework as well as for the features & clothes to look like Katchoo & Francine. And to add in a bit of that Mouse Guard feel, I replaced the chess bits with Swords and Strongholds (and filled in some negative space with the cards strewn around).

The Swords and strongholds bits look like finished artwork because I was able to paste in my digital files for the cards as well as the diagram from the instructions sheet for the game.

With a layout drawn and digitally composited together of Mouse Guard gaming components, it was time to start inking.

I printed out the above layout and then taped that printout to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol. On my lightpad I can see through the surface of the bristol to the printout to use as a 'pencils' guide to ink from. I used Copic Multiliner pens (the 0.7 nib mostly) and added all the lineweight and texture I could to make the piece as 'David Petersen' as possible.

Note: I did ink all the cards and board by hand instead of just digitally paste them in...this way the original art is complete (and will be up for auction at the convention) and the line quality/scale matches the rest of the piece, instead of looking like it was resized and digitally added.

Once the inks were finished I scanned in the original art and started the coloring process by painting in flat colors.

These flat colors help in the next step when I needed to isolate one area (like the floor or Francine's dress) and render it with light and shadow independently of the other areas. So, the flatting stage is basically digitally coloring inside the lines.

I also established all the color holds here (areas where I wanted the lineart to be a color other than black) on Francine's dress & necklace, Katchoo's nose, and all the cards.

The last step was to render the color fully and add shadow, highlight, and texture. I use Photoshop's Dodge and Burn tools with a stock textured brush to achieve this.

The finished piece (seen to the right) will be one of many artist homages to Terry's work. The Baltimore Comic Con Yearbook will be for sale at the convention (and usually online from the convention afterwards) and as I mentioned above, the original art will be auctioned off on the Saturday of the convention.

For more info about the 2018 Baltimore Comic Con Yearbook:

2018 Appearances:
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 28-30
New York Comic Con: Oct. 4-7

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