Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Headless Horseman Howls A Happy Halloween To You!

Happy Halloween. Hope you had a spooky one. Here's another wool doll design I did for my friend over at runredrun. It's my old friend, the Headless Horseman. The doll was designed to be displayed headless or with an evil jack-o-lantern atop his shoulders. Below are some work-in-progress steps for the concept illustration and the photo of the finished doll.

First step in the illustration is a pencil sketch on paper, as usual. Like I've mentioned before, I'm partial to a five-fingered hand, but the fiber artist wanted to work with the more cartoony four-fingered hand. Fine by me. He's a ghost anyway, so who knows how many fingers he had?

Here I've finished inking the sketch (digitally) and started to paint in some color. Standard hard-edged brush in Photoshop, layered over and over to blend. I threw in a warm background knowing the Horseman would be wearing a lot of cool colors and I wanted to get a feel for the contrast early on.

Most of the figure is finished in this step, so I started beefing up the background. I wanted to echo the feeling of a page ripped from an old, dusty book so I "burned" the edges around the page with a textured brush in a dark umber, low opacity. I also threw in a passage from the Washington Irving tale on a layer behind the illustration.

The "yellowed page" look was ok, but not intense enough. So I doubled the "burned edges" layer and painted in a light glow around the figure to separate him from the page. This looked just about finished. So I tossed in a little noise, added a logo (see top of post) and there you have it. One vengeful hessian and his grimacing gourd.

And here is the finished doll. I think it's a pretty good 2-D to 3-D translation. You can see a few more pictures of the doll in the gallery at Enjoy. -v

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