Since it was a very interesting project, the techie -stuff was challenging, I decided to show off a little of the cover process here.
I use this blog not only to show off my work, but also to give the independent Authors who hire me, a little exposure back and promote this "collaborations" to the public.
I treat every commission as if it will go to my portfolio, when working on 2-4 covers +- personal works a month, clearly NOT every piece is going to the portfolio, but its good to know every piece could. And a blog like this fulfills the desire to give the works that extra-bit of exposure, to show how much work really went into a piece.
First briefing was about a little more steam punk, and therefore metal and stuff, like the sketch shows off:
Since the briefing was clear and I had a little freedom on how to execute this, the detailed sketch above was what I worked out after a few raw loosely sketches.
There were some changes on the headpiece /helmet and with the bleed for print, additionally the cabin was changed on some parts,. This basic colored sketch shows the idea for different lighting.
While working out the details and over paint them in photoshop, I go basically through the image step-by-step, starting with the difficult part first and then out to the neighbour parts.
Every part is first grouped into new layer-groups and when that specific part is finished, I safe a new version with layer-flattened, in the next version then - and if changes are due -I work on a new layer on top to get the details in.
At this stage, the rough basic painting and base -coloring is, again, step-by-step overworked with details. References help to define more details at this stage and is by far the part where the illustration starts to make real fun. (The skull and skeleton is from a poser render, stock photos just for getting the idea of the materials, etc) Its important to know that a photo or 3d-reference is there to help, but not to make me a slave of the reference. It helps to get an account for the folds in clothes, seems and such, nothing more, nothing less.
This is the final layout then, (which is not my work) but it makes the book look futuristic and the crop of the illustration teasing.
And since the format screams to make it a wallpaper, below you find a 1440x900 sized Wall for your desktop or laptop screen:
Here you can also find the original colored wallpaper versions from the authors page: