One very recent character-driven cover artwork I did was for Kyle Stiff and his Heavy Metal Thunder book. It is kind of a different story, because it is a 'choose your own adventure' styled book, but... you better read on Amazon what this genre or better said; the book is all about.
The title as also the description he gave me was all directing towards heavy metal, but mostly targeted at the physical representation.
The main character "Cromulus" is a mix of El Topo and Rasputin type of persona and a soldier, nicely packaged in a black-armor, equipped with pretty archaic weaponry and a jetpack on his lonesome journey through outer space.
|1.) Character / armor concept|
|2.) Stance and jetpack studies|
|3.) Crop and sketch based on given specs.|
3.1.) This is an Eye-flow-map (more info here), it is possible to engage a specific eye-flow with lines, contrasts and various other composition techniques, no one can guarantee that it works as intended, but it is always good to have a plan, instead of hoping the best for a good outcome.
|4.) Scene sketch with typo|
|4.1.) Further developed scene with typo|
|5.) roughly colored version|
|6.) This colored sketch shows the refinement as a whole|
|6.1.) This map shows the hot spots where the most work went into|
|7.) This step shows my workspace which is a bit bigger than the actual image|
|7.1.) Cluttered layers in uncluttered groups|
7.) This step shows a bit more of my workspace area, which is actually bigger than the image itself, for mixing colors, brush tests and temporary reference image placement. I always keep the character separated from the background, until the image is 90% done. So at this stage I have made a duplication of the character layer and made it about 20% darker, then I erased the parts that should stay brighter, to add depth and more contrast to the lighting, this is visible if you compare the version 8.) with 6.) .
7.1.) This shows my layer palette at this point, still a bit messy, I´m used to reduce layer groups, once they´re approved. To keep safety while working back and forth, I save different versions every now and then, so I can import a layer group from a previous version to go back if necessary.
|8.) Added detail and color adjustments|
|9.) Added fog, frozen blood and depth-of-field...|
|9.1.) Close up #1|
|9.1.) Close up #2|
|9.1.) Close up #3|
|9.1.) Close up #4|
9.1.) These are some close-up´s, pretty self-explanatory:)
|10.) Final version of the cover art with typo|
10.) This is the final version with typo, it shows that the font, bolt and the limited typo effects go well with the sci-fi theme.
I hope you liked this digital painting walk-through, check out the others here and here too.
Comments are always welcome.