Sunday, April 12, 2009
As promised in last week's post, here are the rough sketches that culminated in the above composition. These are all part of one, multi-layered Photoshop document. Every time I planned on making a significant change (or wanted to explore a different direction) I would copy the layer and continue the process. This left me with a visual record of each major stage.
In general, I like to compose in grayscale so that I'm not distracted by too many options — color can easily be added later. The following images are all painted very quickly, concentrating on major shapes and ignoring details. I primarily used two preset brushes, "oil Pastel" and "chalk," both of which prevent much intricate fussing.
I started with what I like to call my "anchors," things that I knew I wanted to include. I had more freedom than usual with this cover, so I decided to draw a classic subject, Wolverine vs. Sentinels. The first thing that popped into my head was Wolverine in a tree, looking down on Sentinels that have just spotted him. While this would've been good enough, I also wanted to paint snow, which meant that I either had to change the point of view or the lighting. I wanted the spotlight effect, so I changed the perspective.
I immediately thought of a different situation in which our hero has won a small victory, but faces further challenges. Having a defeated Sentinel in the foreground would also provide a sense of scale for the approaching ones, which are over 20 feet tall.
But I had forgotten my trusty spotlight, which, from this angle, would imply that he is surrounded, thus injecting just a tad more drama to the situation. I also added some smoke to indicate the freshness of the kill.
And because smoke is always cool (unless it's from cigarettes, kids).
At this point, I was pretty set in the basic thrust of the composition, but I still had much to work out. I thought a giant hand might make for a more recognizable shape than a foot. I also started adding detail to Wolverine's face, not to mention some battle damage to his right arm.
I then realized that I could use the downed Sentinel as a nice framing device for Wolverine's illuminated face. I also thought it might be cool to have a battle-ravaged Cyclops being saved. However, I didn't want him to be a major focus, so I turned his gaze away from the viewer. If the yellow underwear wasn't enough of a clue as to his identity, I figured the red glow upon snow would fill in the gaps.
Finally, I just had to paint a Sentinel face, so the wreckage grew to take up most of the composition. Everything after this was just cleaning up details.