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WE book illustration: Process

I had the basic idea for the composition in my head and then made some thumbnails in Photoshop to see what it could look like and chose the image on the left as it has better balance.

then I drew a large detailed sketch on paper with a blue col erase pencil and scanned it. It also got flipped along the way. I put the line art on the top layer set to Multiply, this allows you to preserve your line art and paint on a white layer underneath.

I often start off painting with the gradient tool set to Radial and use it to paint. This is a really fast way to get some colour down. For this piece I made selections of the cosmonaut, mountains, planet and sky and then made alphas or masks of each one on other layers for easier selecting and painting later on

Then I lay down the basics with a large round brush set at 75% opacity, when I'm more or less sure of my values I take the brush opacity down to 50% . I used to paint a lot with watercolors and use the same sort of technique here. I gradually use a smaller and smaller brush to do details

As a rule I'm not keen on using special brushes, here I just used a stippled brush shape for the stars and the airbrush for some texture on the planet. I also used various layers set to Screen and Overlay modes to get the halo around the planet.

For the visor on the helmet I made an alpha layer to use as a texture with the 'Lighting effects' filter to make the relection look more spherical as it was too flat. Then I flattened all the layers and noodled around a bit to get a more unified look.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this description.

I love the way this cold blue sun is mirrored in the helmet and the surrounding rocks are standing over the cosmonauts as silent witnesses.

Which book are you illustrating here ?


Fossfor said...

thank you!
the book is WE by John Dickinson, a really chilling SF novel

ten york condo downtown said...

marvelous work, looking great.