Once again, this cover was painted digitally. I swear I am not making a habit of this. I will soon draw some clean lines again, probably for my very next cover. It won't be an American Virgin cover (this is my last) but whatever it is, I'm going to keep it clean. I miss me.
The first image is what I submitted to my editors for approval. They decided they'd like a shot a little closer on Adam, the lead character of the series, even if it meant cropping out the girl's legs. Even though the girl added a somewhat provocative angle to the image, I found a crop that I was happy with, shown in the second image. I decided I would paint out the leg completely to avoid any confusion. Knowing what the sinking guy is really looking up at will be my own private joy.
In the third image, I have begun to lay down some color on the cropped layout in Painter. I have a fairly solid idea of where I want to go with it, which I never really got to in the end, but that is how it goes sometimes.
Next, I started to work out the features. Fortunately, I have a little mirror and a fairly focused light source available at my coloring desk, which I glanced up at occasionally.
After some serious doodling and layering of colors and brush types, all in Painter, I am starting to get somewhere.
After finishing off the hand, I opened the image in Photoshop and went to work on the bubbles. I actually spent hours painstakingly rendering hundreds of them by hand (no joke- I used some old airbrush technique on individual selections, adding shadows and highlights to each bubble) but came to the conclusion that my super-rendered bubbles looked like Adam was drowning in soap, so I ditched all but a few, instead keeping only the outlines. I think it looks a little more graphic and better compliments the abstract swirling water lines. I went back to Painter to paint in some image distortion (Painter has some useful distortion brushes) to further enhance the underwater feel. Finally, back in Photoshop, I adjusted the overall levels to increase the contrast and saturation just a little.
And that's it for now. My eyes are tired, so I am putting it away. If I decide to keep tweaking, I will post an update.