I've finished all the toned paper commissions from the 2021 Black Friday Sale and events like FCBD and Baltimore Comic Con. I streamed drawing almost every one of these on my Twitch Stream.
Tuesday, December 28, 2021
Tuesday, December 21, 2021
To the left you can see one of those pieces finished and colored ready for a page in that sketchbook––and in this blogpost I'll break down the process to get there.
And while it wasn't until after I'd done the pencils that I included a Tiger Moth, I'm sharing my photo reference here at this step.
The duck was penciled separately and added in digitally in Photoshop, where I also quickly drew in my mouse explorer (who I decided after this stage needed a moth companion)
I inked the piece on my Twitch stream and answered questions as I worked.
Tuesday, December 14, 2021
I was fortunate enough to be asked by IDW and Stan Sakai to do a run of covers on the new Usagi Yojimbo reprints of short story issues that will be collectively called 'Lone Goat and Kid'. I'll be doing six in total, and for this blogpost I'll be sharing my process for the creation of the cover art for issue #2.
This issue is currently up for pre-order through Diamond with the code DEC210552. Just ask your local comic shop to order it for you, or order it though an online retailer. The issue will be in shops Feb 23, 2022
To the left you can see the finished cover, but below I'll go through the steps in creating it.
With a low camera angle I could get this pose of Usagi running right towards us, with the kites in the sky being flown by people off camera as the mom just crests the hill in silhouette. I tend to go overboard on this stage roughing in color too, this helps me and the editor to really understand the goal of the final look of the piece without problems to solve in the coming stages.
When the layout was approved by the editor and Stan, I started the inks. First step was to print the layout file onto copy paper (over two sheets that had to be taped together at the seam) and tape that to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 bristol. On my Huion lightpad I was able to ink the cover art using the printout as my pencils lines. This way in the end the inked artwork is very crisp and clean with no need to erase pencils lines. I used Copic Multiliner SP pens to ink the art (the 0.7 and 0.3 nibs).
The inks were approved and I scanned them in to Photoshop to start the coloring process. This first part of coloring digitally is called 'flatting' and is a professional version of coloring inside the lines. Establishing what each area's color is and where it ends. This not only is a color base for the image, but also allows a quick flat color area to be able to quickly isolate to render or make adjustments on.
Most of the color choices had been made in the layout stage, but I made changes to the value structure as I worked. In this step I also added color holds (areas where I want the lineart to be a color other than black) to The kites, the kite art, the kite strings, the mob, and Usagi's scar
Here again is the finished art (this time sans-logo). I made significant changes to the tones from the flats by adjusting color balance, brightness, & contrast. To render all of the color I mostly used the Dodge and Burn tools (Photoshop tools based on real photography techniques for purposely over or under exposing film as it develops). Burn is do darken and Dodge is to lighten. I use a stock Photoshop textured brush as I add shadows and highlights with these tools so the work looks a little more organic and less digital.
Usagi Yojimbo: Lone Goat & Kid #2 is out in stores Feb 23, 2022
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