Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Creating a Print (Part 3)

Part 3:  Bringing the Composition to Life

In this final stage of this tutorial, we'll take the flat colored version of our Superman/Doomsday design (part 2) and bring it to life and add depth of field by adding highlights and shadows.

You can see how the reflected light from the fires on the characters, along with the shadows on the side facing away from the flames, serves to give them a feeling of weight and 3 dimensions (verses the flat colors).

Another long time colorist tool is the intensity of color.  Notice the colors and outlines in foreground debris stands out from the characters, adding depth to the scene.  Along those same lines, on the debris behind the characters I went with even lighter colors and outlines less intense, to pull those items back in the scene from the characters...adding even more depth of field.  So in essence, what I've tried to do is create a foreground, middle ground and background through the intensity of color.

So there you have it!  I hope this is helpful information.

For those of you interested, this print design and so many others, are now available for purchase at my new website:  BobTheArtist.com    ....which should go live sometime today (if you get directed to headpress.info, try again later, as that means bugs are still being worked out).

R.J. Luedke

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Creating A Print (Part 2)

Part 2: Shoring up the Design and adding the Base Color Scheme

Okay now that we've created the foundation of our pen/brush and ink design (see part 1), we're ready to scan it into the computer and go to work in photoshop, rounding out the design elements and laying down the base color scheme for the entire design.

FYI...I usually work in 400dpi on these so I can get the most detail possible with my colors and because the piece will eventually be blown up to 11 x 17 (from it's approx. 8.5 x 11" size now).
stage two of Superman/Doomsday print design

As you can see I added a few elements to the original design.  But I just felt that the original design was a bit to thin to base a print design from and wanted to really have a bit of fun by adding elements that would elevate the level of carnage of the scene.   For those of you who recall this original battle between these two in the final couple books in the storyline (Superman: Man of Steel # 19 and Superman #75) it was basically a knock-down, drag-out battle with them trashing the city as well as each other.  So I wanted to convey that level of destruction in the design.  In addition, I took away a couple elements....the Superman logo in the background and 60th Anniversary Lettering.  Since the original design was for a Sup's 60th Anniversary spread both seemed appropriate, while here they would serve to draw away from the drama.

Making these kind of additions once the design in scanned is somewhat unusual for me, since I've never really gotten comfortable drawing in photoshop or illustrator.   These are things I'll usually fix or add on the drawing table, but since none of them involved a whole lot of precision I took a shot.

This is the first step of how I do my coloring (in photoshop).  Like you see here I lay down the foundational colors for ALL the elements of the design.  The only one that I did a bit more with, was converting the line work on the flames to orange instead of it's original black.  It's kind of funny, looking back on the Superman series when this story was published (cira: 1993...before the era of digital) this stage represents how most comic coloring looked (very flat).  But as they say..."all you know is what you know" and artists did the best they could with the limits the paper and printing technology had to offer at the time.

My next step is I'll select each color and then go to work adding my shadows and highlights, one by one.  Like almost all of my designs this one has a very obvious and dramatic light source (the burning debris behind the figures) which allows for the colorist (in this case me) to really have a blast bringing the composition to life and adding depth....

...But that will all be covered in the next step:  Bringing the Composition to life!

R.J. Luedke

Friday, April 08, 2011

Creating A Print Design (Part 1)

Hey gang,

While in the process of creating my next print design, it occurred to me that I really should share a few of the steps involved in arriving at the finished product, for those who might have an interest in such things.   So, here we go....

This particular design has a bit of history behind it. 

I originally designed this illustration for the 1998 Comic-Con International (probably known as San Diego Comic-Con back then) souvenir program book.  If you've attended that show before you know that each year in that publication they celebrate a character or character's anniversary, by presenting a whole bunch of renditions that will fall all across the spectrum of styles.  Now, I've got to be frank here...I can't recall if they ended up using my design the in finished product or not (but I'm sure there must be someone out there in comic-dom who collects these gems and can confirm that fact). 

But, that year the theme was Superman's 60th anniversary and since the death of Superman Saga and Doomsday were still pretty fresh in every one's mind, I thought that might make for a dynamic design.

I've always loved this piece, but had forgotten I even still had it till rummaging through an old portfolio looking for another piece of art.  So I decided to put it to good use and use it as the foundation of a print.

Next up:  Shoring up the design and the base color scheme.

till then....

R.J. Luedke