Here is a cover I did a while back for Sämmtliche Gedichte, a German-language novel written by Dietmar Dath.
From the beginning, the author knew that he wanted a fairly straightforward shot of the Amelia Earhart-type character, so my thumbnails were basic compositional variations of this image. It was ultimately decided that I go for the most direct version.
When drawing an image like this, where there is one central figure with little movement and few background elements, the smallest details can significantly change the feel of the image. In this case, I recall a debate about how to direct the eyes- originally, I had her looking straight at the viewer, which can be engaging or even intimidating depending on the expression, but we decided it would be more in her character to direct the gaze slightly away from the viewer, creating a little distance.
The image was sketched in pencil, then inked with a brush and pen, and colored in Photoshop and Painter. I established the basic color design during the thumbnail stage, which is always very helpful since it can save a lot of time screwing around with colors in Photoshop when the deadline is creeping up. It is sometimes good to have a plan.*
Thanks for stopping by.
*even if you choose to completely ignore it at least half of the time. Sometimes it seems my favorite plan is coming up with a new plan.
Here is yet another Supergirl cover, issue 48, along with some process shots.
As you can see from the above thumbnail, the final image stayed pretty close to my initial concept. In fact, when I was adding some color to the thumbnail in Photoshop to submit for editorial approval, I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to reproduce the "scream ring" effect on the final- I was just screwing around when I came up with it and couldn't remember exactly how I did it, but I liked it. My goal was to get the final cover pretty close to the thumbnail.
I agonized over how to draw the actual cover; I knew that it would technically be much easier to draw Silver Banshee and Supergirl on two different pieces of paper so that I could work with them separately in PS, but I would be sacrificing a nicer looking piece of finished art. In the end, practicality won, and I have yet another cover drawn in pieces. It was the right choice, however, because having Supergirl on her own layer floating over Silver Banshee allowed me to add all of the effects without having to make selections or deal with weird edges around Supergirl. I was also able to adjust Supergirl's size and position with ease since there was a complete background behind her, which is pictured above before making any adjustments. I drew Silver Banshee in blue pencil, then inked her with a brush and india ink.
Above is Supergirl as she was drawn on a vellum overlay. Vellum is like a heavy tracing paper, so the transparency allowed me to draw her basically where I wanted her over the background. Supergirl was first drawn with blue pencil on a sheet of vellum, then I laid another sheet on top of that and drew the final lines in ink with a pen. I could have just inked directly over the blue pencils, but I was really struggling with some parts of the drawing (including the skirt, as usual) and wound up with a lot of smeared pencil. Vellum is easily erasable, so pencils can smear, and sometimes ink doesn't want to stick. A fresh sheet took care of the problem.
The color was done in Photoshop, and I tried to keep it fairly simple. The most important part was getting the balance right between Supergirl and the black and white background so that the contrast is striking, yet reads well. I had to lighten the background a touch and added a little bit of a soft halo of white around Supergirl to help pop her off the background. After staring at it for a while and nearly getting dizzy, I decided it was done.
Thanks as always for stopping by.
I am very sorry for the long wait between posts. I'm still quite busy, but I hope to get back to more frequent posts soon. In the meantime, here are a couple of Supergirl covers. You already saw the Hamlet-themed one when I posted it a little too early for DC's taste and had to take it down a couple of months ago. Now that it is finally on the schedule as issue 47, you can see it again.