Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Owl 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 owl and mouse artwork to the left from concept to finished colors.

I started by drawing the owl on a sheet of copy paper. Then to make sure I could easily adjust the layout and proportions, I drew the mouse & basket separately. The mouse is the same mouse from my 2016 limited print "Juniper". Instead of a contentious relationship with an owl like the Guardmice had in Winter 1152, I opted to have this be co-operative. After I assembled the two drawings in photoshop (tinting them both to help my eye see where one ended and the other began) I dropped in a stock photo of a close up of a pine branch.

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. I used the stock photo as a guide for masses rather than directly copying the specific forms of needles and branches.

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 owl's feathers will be different from its eyes, the branch's needles, the basket, 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 had to do some color tinting and painting to get the owl's feathers to have the variety of tone & hue you see in the finished print.

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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