Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Tynan - 7th of the Black Axes

For a new 10 piece print set, I illustrated all of the past wielders of the Black Axe from Bardrick to Celanawe. I'd shown and listed the wielders in the Black Axe book--but they were only ever visualized as embroidery details on the Adana Tapestry––and I wanted to give them a more solid design existence. The set of ten 4.75" x 4.75" prints is available for sale in my online store and comes in a vellum envelope:


To the left you can see the finished art for the Tynan, 7th of the Black Axes print in the set. Below I'm going to go through the process to create the art.


I started with a pencil drawing of the armored Tynan thinking I'd place him in the middle of a forest fire. Once I had my pencils drawn, I scanned them into Photoshop and placed in a photo reference that I also digitally painted over to get a sense of placement for the branches and embers as well as the open spots for flame. I blocked in the colors for Tynan to make it easier to see him apart from the environment.

I printed out the above layout when I was happy with the arrangement and taped that printout to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol. On my Huion Lightpad I'm able to see through the bristol to the the printout to use it as a guide to ink from. I ink with Copic Multiliner SP pens, and I used the 0.7 & 0.3 nibs for this piece.

So much of this piece relied on color that I had to be mindful of what ink shapes and lines were going to be which colors or values.

Color Flats:

When the inks were done, I scanned the art and brought it back into Photoshop to start the coloring process. This is the step where I 'm basically just filling in each area with flat color. But, in this step I also establish the color holds, areas where I want the ink work to be a color other than black. In this piece everything but the border falls into that category: The lineart for the foreground--and lighter yet, the background, the flames, the dots of embers rising up, and the runic numeral '7'. It took a long time to isolate all of that linework and pick colors for them.

Final Colors:

The final colors were rendered by using the dodge and burn tools in Photoshop (and a textured brush) to add shadows, highlights, and textures. I select areas and play with the color balance to shift colors in some areas.

The entire 10 piece print set is available in my online store: https://mouseguard.bigcartel.com/product/wielders-of-the-black-axe-print-set

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