Sunday, March 31, 2013

Gem of Atlantis Fan Art Process

The fan art exchanges continue over at Untold Tales of Bigfoot. This time, in exchange for some Bigfoot art, I tried my hand at Michael Dambold's Peter the Pterodactyl, a pivotal character in his cosmic time/space sage, Gem of Atlantis. This is the finished piece, but I posted some steps in my process below for those that are interested. 

The pencils. My illustrations normally lean toward kid-friendly, but I'm pretty sure actual pterodactyls were just this cute during adolescence. 

Once the pencils are scanned into Photoshop, I ink it. There are no background elements inked in because I wanted to experiment with some different methods for the backdrop.

The pterodactyl will progress as my normal comic art does -- with flat colors first. But I wanted to do something more "spacey" and "cosmic" for the background. I did a quick search on the internet and found a few tutorials that fit the bill. Basically, create a star field with some "planets" made of sampled textures.

As Peter gets his highlights and shadows (all in Photoshop with a soft brush) so the planets get their shadows. A few of the space tutorials I found used texture overlays to emulate nebulae in the background, so I gave that a shot and it didn't look half bad. 

The next step on the pterodactyl is to intensify his highlights and shadows, building them up slowly with transparent brushes, and painting in some mottled textures on the wings. As for deep space, that's all about glow effects to give the appearance of an atmospheric bubble around each planet. Another great trick I learned was the use of a lens flare to simulate the sun coming over the horizon. After that (as you can see in the top image) it was just a matter of blasting every single thing in the image with varying degrees of glow to give it that cosmic effect. 

It was weird not actually drawing those space elements, but I think this method served the piece better, and that's the whole point. And don't forget, if you like Peter the Pterodactyl, don't forget to give Michael Dambold's Gem of Atlantis a try. -v

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