Since the cover is out now, I thought I'd show here part of the process I go through for such assignment.I get a few lines from my editor and start sketching a few lay-outs. Very loose.
At this stage, to me, it's more about the idea. To hint people with where the characters will stand and what they'll be doing. No intention of light, or mood/colors. Sometimes, if I feel someone might find it too loose to anticipate what it could look like, in the end - Not everyone has the ability to project himself in what the image will look like - I quickly put colors with photoshop on the lay-out. It usually sells the idea better. I also need sometimes to refine the lay-out, so I get to solve a few inconsistencies or tricky questions that might arise later, at pencil stage, and that I'd hate to be stuck with: tangents, between characters and background elements, or between characters themselves. From there, I know I'll still make last minute changes, slight ones, that no one will notice but will help the image be better. Says the less objective party in this.
At any stage, what really matters is that whoever commissions and/or validates should know I only try to improve on the image.
Then comes a decisive part of the process. At least for me, always aiming for more realistic rendering with a blend of graphic licence, still.
Anyway, it is always more fun when you have someone to assist you. A pain to deal with on your own: photo reference. Costume, obviously, never fits with someone my size. Not to mention the model looks ridiculous, too. heh. But it serves its purpose. That stage is actually helpful to gather data on how folds run on fabric, given the position of the arms, the way light hits that awesome six-pack... So on and so forth...Not to mention it's a tremendous help to "break" the habits of, let's say, drawing cloth and folds the same repetitive way. The process of relying on skills that have proven their efficiency pages after pages - and which sometimes helps define a style can also become a drawback - no pun intended - and I tend to assimilate it to artistic sclerosis. indulging in the same gimmickes slowly kills creativity, in my opinion. It has been one of my main struggles over the years, when it comes to my art: always try, as much as possible, to switch from one style to the other, and try in instill, inject a little bit of whatever I could understand from the previous. It helps break any of the bad habits that could lead an artist to choose the same angle to draw a fist, or a clutching hand, the same foreshortening viewor the same expression. Any artist knows what I am talking about as well as how hard it is to go against his own natural inclinations...
But enough considerations on what makes your habits-in-rendering become a style. All I know is observation is the key to rendering with variety.
Yeah, I know... Handsome Jedi, except for the short skirt.
I usually add a few filters on Photoshop to help me get in the color mood for the image, too. Praise Photoshop.
I decided to go for tonal paper on that series of covers. It helps on many levels: Setting the mood faster, because the shadows and hilites pop out immediately, making the color of the paper a third tone that adds volume to the designs. At this stage,I also use reference to capture the likeness of the actor, because it is requested. The tricky part was to make him look younger, especially given the size ( on the final piece he is only 6 inches tall ). Pressure? Naaaaah...
And then there was the chick. Scarce information on her is an understatement. Thank God Mahmud had a design he made of her. I hope my pencils do it justice.
For the rest of the piece, I drew the ship on a separate sheet. Then imported it on the final file. before putting the colors. I made the front look like the actual front view of the T shaped cooning towers for Star Destroyers. That's how much of a geek I can be, just in case the picture with the cheap suit didn't give it away already.
The 25 is because the cover was made as a celebration piece for Dark Horse 25th anniversary.
Hope you enjoyed the tour... Now get some art done, Damnit!
Comme l'a dit un jour le célèbre linguiste Jean-Luc Lahaye, accueillant Barry White dans sa préstigieuse émission de télé culturelle... " Welcome to here! "
Ceux qui connaissent déjà mon travail seront ici peut-être un peu déstabilisés par les croquis et autres petites aquarelles, ou dessins d'humeurs qui n'apparaissent d'ordinaires jamais ailleurs. Une autre facette de ma personnalité qui s'exprime par le biais de ce blog.
Welcome to you all! Those of you who know of my more commercial art might be surprised to learn there's another facet to me. Or not. Most of us artists usually spent a fair amount of time doodling, sketching, in the subway, in parks, in cafés... If you are an artist and you don't do this, understanding the world you live in will take muuuuuuch more time!