Tuesday, October 30, 2018

TMNT Macro Series Raphael Cover Process

My final TMNT Macro Series cover for IDW is Raphael. This marks my 17th Turtles cover for IDW, and it has been a pleasure to do them all. My first TMNT cover was of Raphael, so to end this round with him feels a bit full-circle.

To see my past TMNT covers click here.

The finished art for the Raphael cover is on the left, but below I'll walk through the steps to create this cover piece.

As with the other Macro Series covers, editor Bobby Curnow provided me an outline of the events of the issue, but also gave me free reign to do something 'classic'. Part of the Raph story takes place in Central Park. And since the other 3 covers in this series have their locations as a main element in the composition, picking the right Central Park monument was key. I toyed with The Dairy, The Carousel, Belvedere Castle, and Columbus Circle monument...but opted for the juxtaposition of the Angel of the Waters atop the Bethesda Fountain.

Raph was drawn on copy paper (2 sheets, I redrew one arm and his sai) and the Angel of the Waters was drawn from a reference photo. All of these drawings were scanned into photoshop composited (with some digital pigeons, & ninja stars along with some stock photo trees) and then quickly painted to help me 'see' the final composition and to make it easier for the editor and Nickelodeon understand what I was doing.

I printed out the above layout and taped it to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol. On my light pad, I was able to see through the bristol surface to the printout, and I used that as a guide to ink from. I used Copic Multiliner pens...mostly the 0.7 nib.

Translating the texture of the shading on the statue was the tough part. Knowing how far to go. I like the soft nature of my pencil version more than the inked one...but sometimes, that happens.

Color Flats:
Once the inks were finished I scanned the original artwork to start the coloring process. This step is called 'flatting' where you digitally paint in the colors (could be the final palate, could be made up colors) to establish what areas are different colors from one another. Raph's skin is different from his front shell, and that's different from the sky, or the pigeons, or the statue, or his pads or arm wraps.

In this step I also added color holds (areas I wanted the ink work to be a color and not black) to the moon's outline, the stars, and the trees.

The final step was to render all the color. I did this step live over on my Twitch channel. I do all of the highlighting, shading and texture using the dodge and burn tools in Photoshop and a stock brush. 

I did add some more color holds on Raph's cuts and also some glowy bits on the edges of the statue & pigeons in front of the moon.

...oh...and I just found out, I'm doing another cover for this series...the trade!

2019 Appearances TBA

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