Here's a long, overblown examination of my workflow for this "Trick or Treat" piece I did for my official website. So, in reverse order, from the bottom up, you have:
1) The pencil sketch. the sketch came out pretty good and I had thoughts of inking it comic book style and coloring it kind of flat and simple. But I decided I needed another fully painted piece.
2) The pencil sketch with some basic colors laid in. A few illustrator friends of mine actually liked this stage and suggested I could stop here and have a decent, simple children's illustration. Eh. I like it, but I'm used to more detail. And what do they know anyway?
3) Developing the light and shadow. I really wanted a sense that the lamps and jack-o-lanterns were glowing, and that the figures were casting shadows. This is Halloween, remember. Shadows are important.
4) At this point, the precious pencil sketch is completely painted over with color and texture. But I really tried to stick close to the sketch. I thought the linework was strong so there's not too much improvisation over top.
5) The final. I really bumped up the light and shadows, made the colors richer, increased the contrast. Actually, for some reason, this version on the blog seems a little more intense than the actual piece. For a better idea of the final color/contrast (and a larger image) check it out in the gallery section of my website. -v