Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tellos: Baltimore Comic-Con Yearbook 2017 process

The Baltimore Comic Con has an anual tradition of publishing a Yearbook, each year featuring a comic property or title, and asking the guest artists to contribute a pinup in their own style (or also mashing in their characters). Two years ago, I was fortunate enough for Mouse Guard to have been the focus of the Yearbook. This year that honor has gone to Tellos. It is the 10 year anniversary of Mike Wieringo's passing. The book will be available at the Baltimore Convention and probably on their website afterwards.

 On the left you can see my finished  piece, but below, I've gone through and shown the process and steps.

The first issue I had was what character(s) from Tellos would I focus on or use for my piece. Obviously I wanted to draw Koj, the Tiger character, but I figured everyone for this yearbook would be drawing him as well. So I just started drawing all of the characters, Jarek the boy, Tom the turtle-wizard, Rikk the fox-theif, and Brad the dragon. Not being great at drawing human characters, I opted to draw Hawke (who's an elf) and Serra as characters further away in the distance on airships or riding dragons. All of these were drawn on copy paper separately using the Tellos Colossoal collection for reference as I went...

I then scanned all of my sketches and started assembling them into a composition. This took a lot of puzzle-work, adjusting, re-adusting, scaling, leaving out character drawings, mirroring...until I had a layout that worked for me where somehow all the characters fit, there was a focus, and their scales, relative to each other, made sense.

The background skyline & zeppelin silhouettes were drawn quickly in Photoshop based on architecture & ship designs from the first 2 page spread in Tellos.

I then printed out the above composite layout (onto two sheets of legal paper taping them together to form the entire 14x17"piece) and then taped that to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series Bristol. On a light-pad (I use a Huion) I can see through the surface of the bristol to the printout and use it as a guide as I ink on the bristol. For pens I used Copic Multiliners (SP, the 0.7, 0.2, & brush nibs here).

To help the background not feel as flat, I left a gap between it and the character outlines, which also helped me in the next step isolating them as color holds...

After the inks were done, I scanned them for the start of the coloring phase, 'flatting'. This is a term that simply is about laying in flat colors (no rendering, no lighting, no effects) like a professional version of coloring within the lines. I established color holds (areas where I wanted the inkwork to be a color and not just black) for the skyline, zeppelins, and background characters, as well as a few details on Koj's sleeve.

With the flats finished, it was then just a matter of rendering everything. To add the highlights & shadows I use the Dodge & Burn tools in Photoshop using a textured brush.

Here again is the finished piece which will be included in the 2017 Tellos yearbook sold at Baltimore Comic Con

I look forward to signing these in a few weeks there.

See you in Baltimore!

Past Baltimore Yearbook process posts:
2016: Archie:

2015: Mouse Guard:

2014: Grendel:

2012: Liberty Meadows:

2017 Appearances: 
Rose City Comic Con (at the BOOM! Booth) Sept. 8-10
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 22-24

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