November 9, 2007

Return of the Kings, Part 2

Part 2: Pencil & Ink

After getting my rough sketch approved by Topps and New Line, it was time to move on to the pencil & ink stage. First off, I enlarged my rough sketch to fit an 11x17 sheet, then printed it up. Using my light box (I just have a cheapie 10x12 one), I set the print-out under a blank sheet of 11x17 cardstock and traced my original lines, giving me a new rough sketch.

Now most people probably would've tightened the pencils on the whole image first, and then added the inks, but I sort of went back and forth with this one, switching between 'em. I started with the hull of the ship -- It didn't require as much "pencil accuracy," if you will, so I dove right into the inks (I use Faber-Castell Pitt brush pens). After I finished up with the ship, then I decided to tackle the characters onboard the ship, but I did them in groups. For example, Gimli and Aragorn were first -- I tightened the pencils on them (in other words, fleshed them out more in pencil, and added more details) and then when I was fairly happy with how they looked, I'd switch to inks. I'm not a big pencil guy.. My pencil work tends to be very loose and messy, and not overly detailed. Anyway, after those initial two, I then worked on Legolas and the King of the Dead, and then the floaty dead soldiers were last.

At this point I'm done with the pencils and inks, and I'm not super happy with how some of it looks -- but that's OKAY, because I can change stuff later in Photoshop. Thus the reason I prefer digital work over marker work: you can fix mistakes. I look at this paper & ink version as the template only. It'll be scanned in and manipulated to the point that the final version hardly even looks like this version. You'll notice I gave the main characters dark spots for eyes -- this is because I like drawing the eyes in Photoshop. You'll notice the ghost warriors in the back aren't very detailed -- this is because I know I'll be playing around with them a lot in Photoshop, making them glow and radiate, and details won't matter as much. So these are just a couple examples, but you can see what I mean. From here on out, it isn't just a matter of filling in colors; I'm going to be laying down base colors, digitally drawing in details, redrawing details, adding effects, finishing touches, shadows, color adjustments, etc. I'm not even halfway to Mount Doom yet..

Part 3 of 'Return of the Kings'