I watched a lot of cartoons and movies. I draw incessantly and carry a sketchbook everywhere. I work in animation and self-publish my books. There are monsters in the streets, don't wear red. Mad bulls and monsters hate that color. I still watch cartoons.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Making a Marvel Comic Book cover part 3

The final variant Wolverine/Patch cover image! Click on for a larger one.

Time to execute. After a couple of bouts doubting, hesitating and some redo's I arrived at a finished pencil. I hope I had done enough leg work for the variables that lay ahead--barring accidents and the odd thing I didn't plan on. My thumbnail had the foliage behind Logan in a light green but in the final I decided to keep all the elements in a yellow gold. A color mock-up of the composition helped me relax about applying the final colors.

The first thing on was a light watercolor wash over the shapes. After that was dry I started on flesh tones and then Logan's face. If you mess this part up then you can pack it up and start over. I had not done what the veterans would do to eliminate a complete redo. They'd pencil it in, ink it and seal it all under varnish or matte medium. That way if you falter you can scrub all the paint back to the drawing underneath. Thankfully with all the limbering up and re-draws I got the Logan face I wanted. With that clinched I went on to the other crucial face and skin tones for Jessan.

Next I had to key in the darkest values of Logan's head. I didn't want to use actual black, even for his pants and shoes. It also helps to keep the other elements from stealing focus from ol' Wolvie. I even muted the contrast of Jessan's face and dress so our hero stands out. After that the only big-ish challenge is the shawl pattern. I like intricate design but I din't want the fabric to be angry with detail. Then all that's left was defining the tux, his claws, the plant leaves and pot.

I sent an image of the cover to Marvel and they were very happy with it. To be honest, I was very happy with it myself. It was something I wanted to try out and see how I'd do and the result was not too bad. I hope I get to do this again so I get better at it. Thanks for reading this far. I hope you get a chance to find this variant cover. I should order this myself: Uncanny X-Men #7. Cheers!

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Making a Marvel Comic Book cover part 2

Warm ups and research. Creating quick ideas is fun but being a feature animation guy full time means I'm not set up to make cover art. I decided that I was going to do this with actual media. No photoshop. I had to limber up. I created folders of images of tuxedos, Sean Connery (who wears it best), hands, shoes, asian models (for Tyger), fabrics from Singapore and Malaysia and tropical plants and pots.

Then I started to paint studies. Past experience taught me that I could be too casual about the job--to disastrous results). I learn from reading about other artists' process like this post from Leif Peng's Today's Inspiration where Mitchell Hooks was interviewed about his process.

On another front, I blew up the thumbnail to 125% of print size and roughed it in on tracing paper. That revealed the next problem. Without a pair of actual models I am making this up entirely out of my head. I had to hunt for poses that I can reference and draw the composition several times. Each time I found something to fix (which leg is bearing the weight, relative sizes of body parts, hand poses, etc). Next post is about painting the final!

This is just one of the full sized pencils I did. I had transferred one of these to illustration board only to change my mind after a day of staring at it. Tyger was too big, Wolvie didn't seem convincing in his pose. I tortured myself but I'm glad I did.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Making a Marvel Comic book Cover

Wolverine Costume Variant cover for Marvel. A few months back Marvel asked me if I was interested in doing another variant cover for them. I did an Iron Man one before and I was looking for another shot at a cover. What's that you say? It would feature Wolverine? WOULD I?!

They were planning on doing a set of covers to feature the life and times of our favorite adamantium enhanced mutant. I immediately zeroed in on the Patch persona. Why? I had not read those stories that was set in Madripoor so I had no attachment to it. What did it was the look. I am a big fan of the paperback covers of Robert McGinnis and Mitchell Hooks. This was a chance to try my hand at it.

A quick round of thumbnails first. I find that I solve big design problems right off that way. Once I had the ideas narrowed down I test it again in color. These thumbnails are about an inch wide. It keeps me from noodling. I did two versions though I thought I liked the first one already. I just had to make sure that I'd be happy to do either version regardless. Marvel liked the one I wanted. Yeah! That starts another round of prep and solving design problems. That's for the next post.

I mocked up the image against a Wolverine banner just to see what clearance I needed for the banner, whatever book the cover might appear in. Marvel didn't know at the time. Now we know It's for Uncanny X-men #7. Lucky! Love that book.

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