Wednesday, August 1, 2012
The Night Visitor: Process
The Night Visitor is one of the newest images I posted to my website, vincedorse.com. It's the kind of illustration you might find in your standard, children's picture book. There's not a lot of Photoshop trickery or effects here, just basic lines and colors. I'll break it down, though, because it's fun to see illustrations go from scratch to finish. At least, I think so.
Ok, here we go. This shouldn't take too long. This is the pencil sketch. I wasn't sure whether I wanted it as a single-page illustration or a two-page spread, so I planned for both, just in case (those little crosses in the middle top and bottom would line up with the gutter in a two-page spread). I scan that into Photoshop and then decide on some colors.
I wanted a night scene, but wasn't exactly sure how my lights and shadows would fall. So I did a quick, rough color comp to see what worked. Yes, it's sloppy. But it really helped me zero in on my color choices.
With the color comp still visible, I start painting over it with more refined brushstrokes. Yes, I did the cat first because he seemed like fun. Lots of soft brushstrokes here smoothing out the rough stuff underneath.
After the cat, it seemed like the headboard would be the next fun thing to paint. I was right. Just rough vertical stripes of lighter and darker brown to create the woodgrain. The blanket was really just long, sweeping strokes of bluish-shadow and pinkish-highlights.
I saved the details of the boy's face until last because it's probably the most important part of the illustration and maybe the most difficult too. No secret blueprints, here. Just layers and layers of color and texture. In the end, that vast expanse of red blanket seemed a little plain, so I decided to paint rocket ships on it. Again, no secret Photoshop tricks, I just painted each little rocket ship to match the folds in the blanket (you can see them in the image at the top of this post). That's all for now, but I'll have another image in this series to break down soon. -v