Monday, March 29, 2010

Iron Man Cover From Sketch To Final Art

I thought I'd give a looksee into how I go about doing my artwork. Here's a step by step look at how I created the art for the cover of "Iron Man: Armored Adventures: Deadly Dreadknights". I hope ya like!

First step, of course, is to rough out ideas for the cover. Many times, as is the case with this particular cover, I pretty much know what I am looking for before I even start sketching. The trick is to get it down on paper. Or, in this case, onto the computer. For this book 100% of the artwork was done on the computer. I rough out the cover in Sketchbook Pro. It's the program I am most comfortable drawing in, especially when I am doing quick sketches. It's very intuitive and I barely have to think at all about the tools involved and just concentrate on drawing. Here's my sketch.

The sketch is pretty rough. I'm not even really that concerned with how good the drawing is. The most important thing is the composition. How the piece flows. If I'm pleased with the sketch I send it off to the Editors and wait for further instructions.

So after I hear from the Editors, it's on to the next step. I'm given the go ahead to move forward, but there were a few notes that the Editors would like me to address in the next step, which is another, tighter, rough sketch.

As you can see, some changes were made. The guy getting blasted in the foreground is now just rubble. There was concern over such violence on the cover of a book that is aimed at young children. I also added another Dreadknight in the background to fill up some dead space and to add more of a threat to Iron Man. I didn't draw in Iron Man's Repulsor Ray blast because that will all be done in color. Also, in this step, I am more concerned with the actual drawing. I need to not only make sure the drawing is good, but that the characters are "on model" and look like they do on the Animated Series. After this is approved it's on to inking this thing digitally!

I "ink" digitally in Photoshop. It gives me an inked look that I can't get from Sketchbook Pro (at least I haven't been able to figure out how to achieve it on there). I work at double the print size and 400 dpi. I feel that gives me a better control of the line. I tried working at actual size and I just couldn't get the clean look I was going for. I ink each figure and/or object on it's own layer. That makes it easier for me to separate anything down the road in the coloring process. If I need to change black line to color, I can select it easily without having to separate it from the rest of the black line art. It also makes it easier to select whole figures or objects if I need to put an effect or anything behind a character or object. Once the black and white art is done and approved it's on to color!

Here's the final color cover art. All done in Photoshop. Because I drew everything on separate layers, it's easy to add in Iron Man's Repulsor Blast behind the rocks in the foreground but in front of the Dreadknight's sword. I hit the sides of the rocks with a little white airbrush so it (hopefully) looks like they are getting disintegrated by the blast. It' also quite easy to pop in the glowing symbols behind Iron Man and the Dreadknights but in front of the background. Although creating those symbols was NOT easy at all! After hours and hours of detail after detail it's finally time to send this away for final approval!

Once the cover is approved, Random House slaps on all of the titles and logos and this thing is good to go! Also, I just noticed while putting together this post that Random House also added in some extra rocks in the blast. I'd never even noticed that before!

Feel free to ask any questions you might have that I didn't cover here!

"Iron Man: Armored Adventures: Deadly Dreadknights" is available August 10th, 2010!