My apologies for the long hiatus!
I mentioned in my previous post that the Animal Archive cover painting was one of the most complex I have ever done. I read over the art order for the job, thinking, "This is going to be awesome!...This is going to be hard!" I would need to tackle a high level of detail, rendering dozens of creatures in the scene, and still make the illustration readable.
Balancing out the composition began at the thumbnail stage. I did numerous thumbnails for the illustration. I narrowed them down to the five I felt were the most successful.
|We went with number three, though I liked numbers one and four as well.|
Often, when working with a complex scene, I will draw important characters separately, so that I can put as much detail into them as I would like, and then I'll collage them together in Photoshop later. I used this technique (if you can call it a technique) for Animal Archive, as well as for the cover to my book.
|I did the drawing for the hero character, Lini, at a larger size than needed for the final composition.|
After drawing all of the animals either in my sketchbook or on tracing paper, I grouped like animals on their own layers in Photoshop. The rough drawings below show how I experimented with those layers before settling on a final composition. I had to make sure there would be room at the top and bottom for text without the image being so busy as to make it indecipherable.
|I spent lots of time drawing that leaping boar in the bottom right and ended up having to sacrifice him for the title.|
|The fox on the left would eventually be eliminated as well.|
|The final drawing. I found a way to get that boar back in there, at least partially!|
I don't usually have progress shots of my paintings, since they are mounted to a board as I work, making them very difficult to scan, but in this case I took a couple digital photos along the way.
|This is usually the stage where I start to panic because I feel like I've forgotten how to paint!|
|The final gouache painting.|
|The cover with title and Pathfinder logo.|