The editor requested a Cantina scene. Well, I dunno if the editor or someone at Newbury Comics requested it...but it was a good call, because I'm terrible at drawing people and especially likenesses.
To the left you can see the finished cover, but for this week's blogpost, I'm going to cover the process to get there...
Creatures! I like drawing creatures. So instead of coming up with a clever scene or interaction in the cantina, I decided just to cram as many alien species as I could in there. Using Google image search and a few Star Wars guide books I drew these sketches of Greedo, Ponda Baba, Muftak (a Talz), Kabe (a Chadra Fan), Momaw Nadon (a Ithorian), Ohwun De Maal (a Duros), a Gotal (who didn't make the final cut) & The Cantina bar itself (complete with a glimpse of the still-like pieces that became IG-88's head). These were all drawn on sheets of copy paper with a mechanical pencil.
I worked up a rough using my sketches. I assembled them all in photoshop, resizing characters, and moving them independently, making rotation adjustments, etc until I had them all fitting in the composition. To show both Marvel & Lucasfilm (both of whom must approve the cover) what I envisioned the colors to look like, I slapped down some quick blocky colors and dropped in the logo. The colors also help make sense of which character is which, something that can get hard to read in a hodge-podge collage of grey sketches. This also made me aware to stagger the characters with similar color schemes.
After I got the approval to start of the inks, I printed out the above composite/digital rough at 10" x 15" and taped it to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol. On a lightbox I'm able to ink on the bristol surface using the printout as a guide instead of doing tighter pencils. I use Copic Multiliner pens to ink with. In addition to adding greyscale values to the piece, I also want the inks to show texture, he helps me get a better range of greys, but also helps make surfaces feel different from one another so that even if they are the same value, they read as different materials.
The inks are scanned so I can start on the color process. Most of the colors were easy to pick since I have reference for everything and already roughed in colors for my mockup to send to Marvel/Lucasfilm. I had to make some minor adjustments so the colors all work together, warming up some of the greens and yellowing some of the reds.
I want to note here, that I didn't 'see' how off the perspective was on the bar-hood where those indents round the corner until I started flatting the colors. I hope the rendering helps a bit as well as covering a great deal of that with the comic's logo.
Here again is the final rendered cover. Issue #1 will be out in stores in January of 2015. My cover will ONLY be available at Newbury Comics
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