Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Rocket Raccoon Cover Process

I was pleasantly surprised in the spring of 2013 to receive an email from Steve Wacker at Marvel seeing if I was interested in doing a Rocket Raccoon cover (this was before I did my Animal Avengers cover). I was given a lot of creative freedom and leeway for the composition. Steve said that it should be a cool shot of Rocket with his guns. I offered up that he could be on an alien planet and I went from there. This is a digital composite of three or four drawings in my sketchbook. I drew Rocket separately from the landscape (towering mushroom-trees). And I drew the guns on a different sheet of paper as well. Working with a piece in sections allows me to quickly scrap something if I don't like it without having to erase around the parts of the drawing I like. Once the sketches were all scanned and pasted together, I threw in a little color to get an idea of the final colors and mood.

With the above composite printed out and taped to the back of some Strathmore 300 series bristol, I inked the cover on my lightbox. I'd done lots of drawings of anthropomorphic Raccoons in the past with the Cats Trio comic my friends and I did in high school...and I'd even done a more recent inked and colored piece of Rocket Raccoon for a friend's blogsite. This being a cover, I spent a bit more care with the fur textures and tones. I also went a little nuts on the background mushrooms under the mantra "if ten are good then three-thousand are great!". The plan was to recede the background landscape by using a color hold and making the mushrooms seem to be way off in the distance...

However, when I was coloring the cover, I found that I was doing a lot of pushing and pulling to get Rocket and the ground he was on to come forward. When the background was lighter, the sky had to be light too, and that meant the foreground and Rocket were dark (just by the relative tones, not by me adjusting them). I opted to darken and lower the contrast on the further landscape and make sure Rocket was the lighter focus.

This cover will appear as a variant on the recently announced ROCKET RACCOON #1 written & drawn by Skottie Young! On-Sale This July!

*6-4-14 UPDATE: Bleeding Cool reports that the pre-orders for the issue are reaching 300,000! (I do not know  what percentage will have my cover). Exciting for a talking-animal book to get this kind of attention: http://www.bleedingcool.com/2014/06/04/rocket-raccoon-1-by-skottie-young-to-sell-300000/http://www.bleedingcool.com/2014/06/04/rocket-raccoon-1-by-skottie-young-to-sell-300000/

2014 Appearances:
Comicpalooza: May 23-25
Heroes Con: June 20-22
San Diego Comic Con: July 23-27
Boston Comic Con: August 8-10
NY Comic Con: Oct. 9-12


CraftyAndy said...
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CraftyAndy said...

love it, always a inspiration to me and I always appreciate when a artist can share their method and technique. Working on a project of my own now, a kids book involving mice, hope it impresses.

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