Been a while since I’ve done a full process post, so here’s one for a fun recent job: a cover for the Scottsdale Times on the subject of fanboys and fandom. They were very open to my ideas for this one, and just wanted a cover that would somehow summarize the fervent love that fans have for key cult subjects like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and comic books.
Being a fanboy myself, this was an easy topic to tackle. I sent these two sketches:
I tend to do my rough sketches on my Cintiq these days, so that I can work directly on a supplied cover template from the client, to take into account the logo box and other text concerns. While I liked the second sketch a lot, replicating all those comics and toys was going to be a challenge given the tight time frame (art was due on Christmas Eve morning). So, it was a bit of a relief that they liked the iconic superhero pose of the first sketch.
Now it was time to shoot some reference. One quick trip down to Old Navy for a Superman shirt, and then I was ready to pose, with my wife manning the camera:
I borrowed a toy stormtrooper from a friend’s kid to shoot some helmet reference:
With that reference in hand, I created my tight final sketch, using Prismacolor pencils on vellum tracing paper:
And then it was time to start painting. I scan my tight sketch, set it to Multiply and lower the opacity, and begin by flatting the image using the lasso tool and flat, opaque color:
Once the flats are in, I start rendering:
On the above screenshot, you can see I was both playing around with type, and the possibility of incorporating some kind of spatter effect. This is unusual for me, but the client asked if I would create the headline text. As the deadline was approaching, I still had a ways to go on the figure, and so I turned to a former student of mine, Zak Erving, to see if he’d be interested in collaborating on this one. As I had hoped, Zak took my rough text placement idea and turned it up to 11. Thanks, Zak!