Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Illustration Experimentation-Book Illustration and Copic Markers

So, ever since Fall Con I've been wanting to give the Copic markers a more serious shot. But I also thought it would be a good opportunity to try out some book illustration. So I worked up some spots for a favorite story of mine, Neil Gaiman's 'October in the Chair,' and here are a couple of the results.

The story involves the months of the year gathering to tell each other stories. Since it is October's month, he is presiding, but Gaiman gives the remaining months intriguing and unique characteristics. Above is an illustration of May, who bears a slight resemblance to Desire from Gaiman's 'Sandman' comics. The description of the character in 'October' matched Desire fairly well, so I wasn't afraid of the influence.

From here I took a sheet of layout bond paper, and working over the inks, I created layers of tones using the Copic markers. I was using a combination of cool gray, neutral gray, and warm gray.
In Photoshop, I lay the inks over the tone layer. Just one problem: I'm not satisfied with the color. It feels lifeless to me.So, I pulled the tone layer into another layer, grayscaled it, then switched it to a duotone setting, and after some messing around, brought it back to the original document. Much better! I chose some autumnal colors in the duotone setting since this is October's story, and it created a much better atmosphere for the image, and a palette to use for the other images.

Now let's see this with another spot illustration, this time for June (who I loosely based on one of my former grad school colleagues). June is described as a little shy, and fearful of the woods, hence the overpowering nature of the environment.

Here's the tone layer, prior to duotone shading.

And here's the final June image. I narrowed the image to give more emphasis on the trees, and to draw the eye to June a little more.

Hope you enjoyed the process breakdown! There will be more of these down the road.


Malachi Ward said...

Great drawings, and I love reading about other people's techniques. The results are fantastic.

Tim Abel said...

I say go for it. You have awesome control when it comes to your b/w only work, but I have to say I really like it when you let color sneak in. Like with your Toby & Sara covers.
p.s. spot on, on the former colleague. I knew right when I scrolled down before I started reading about your process. Has she seen it yet?

Straight_UP said...

Its good to see other artists work flow, I'll have to do the same with my Illustrations.