After I turned in my last TMNT Macro series cover (Raphael), editor Bobby Curnow asked if I'd be up for doing one more so that the trade collection had new artwork. In the past the trades collecting my Micro Series' & Turtles in Time runs reused work from those covers. So this was a nice treat to get to put all the turtles together as a tidy bow to end this run.
To the left you can see the finished cover art, but below I'll go through the steps and stages from sketch to finished colors:
As usual, I like drawing characters separately on copy paper to help me work out poses, and rework details by overlaying more sheets while working on a lightpad. I also find it hard to compose an arangemet of the Turtles where each gets a fair representation in terms of scale and face-time AND there are no odd tangents with each other OR their weapons.
So over the corse of several sheets for the four turtles and a photo referenced study of the City Hall subway platform in NYC, I had what I needed to assemble something to show Bobby.
Since each turtle was separately drawn and scanned, I could easily move, shift, resize, rotate, and tint them to help figure out the puzzle of a layout where, as I said above, there were no tangents. In this stage I did have to make an alteration to Leo's sword because it was always covering part of Mike's face until I changed it, I realized I never finished drawing one of Raph's legs, and was able to swap in a mirror of one of Leo's, and came up with a pile of garbage to justify why/how Don was standing up higher than the rest.
I picked the abandoned City Hall platform not because of it being an homage in the 2nd live action movie, but because I'm fascinated by it architecturally, and love the idea of the turtles exploring abandoned spaces in NYC as potential temporary lairs/hangouts/hide-outs.
The layout it pretty fully realized as an image. I go overboard on many work-for-hire layouts so that the editors and licensors can clearly see what I'm going for without having to do much interpreting and guesswork about the intent for the final art.
Once the layout stage was approved, I was able to move on to the inks. I printed out the digitally composited layout sketches on copy paper, and then taped that to the back of a sheet of 300 series bristol. On my Huion lightpad, I can see through the surface of the bristol to the printout below to use as a guide instead of traditional pencils.
For pens I used Copic Multiliner SPs...mostly the 0.7 nib, but I used some much finer sizes around the eyes.
When the inks were approved, I moved on to the boring bit of coloring known as flatting. This is where you digitally color in the lines establishing base colors for everything with a hard edged brush. The flat colors makes it easier when you do go to render the final colors to isolate areas so you can shade and texture them accordingly.
Now's also a good moment to mention that each turtle has some carry-over item from my individual Macro Series cover of them: Leo's hooded poncho, Raph's shuriken bandolier, Don's welding goggles, and Mike's bindle bandanna tied around his arm.
Here again you can see the final colors for the piece. I rendered all the characters and most of the background using the dodge and burn tools in Photoshop with a textured brush.
The tile details as well as the spot outlines on Mike's bindle bandanna were given a color hold, and area of the inks I wanted to be a painted color and not black. The lights were given some extra layers to help with the glow effect.
The TMNT Macro series Trade will be available in June of 2019.
Here's a link to all my past TMNT covers: https://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/search/label/TMNT
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