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

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