Arcagen Journal Entry #6: Working on a Cover

It has been some time since I wrote an entry on this journal, but believe me, the development of the project has been steady. The adventures of Paloma keep advancing, and soon I’ll have the first chapter ready. Did I mention I’m working with an editor? His name is Sebastián Castillo, chief of Pezarboreo, a small comic publisher here at Chile. He seems to firmly believe in my work, and I’m grateful for the support he has been showing on this story. We are preparing a surprise for a local con called FIC (Feria Internacional del Comic) and he asked me to prepare a cover for…well that’s still a surprise :)

On his blog, I want to show the creation process of this cover.

Step 1: Stealing like an Artist

Picasso once said “Good artist copy, great artists steal” (quote not confirmed). I might have an idea on how this cover might look like, but in order to be efficient, it’s a good idea to see the work of others for guidance. So I look over my image collection over Pinterest, Artstation or personal folders for inspiration, and then I choose those who look similar to that initial idea on my head. This could be related to mood, composition, color or a combination of those three. Finally, I deposit them all over PureRef (a great free reference software). Below you will find the canvas I created with the references I gathered.

This is the canvas I created with PureRef, where I deposit all the references in order to create the cover.

This is the canvas I created with PureRef, where I deposit all the references in order to create the cover.

Step 2: Thumbnailing

My editor likes to see some proposals for the cover, to see which would work better from a creative and marketing perspective. So, I take my references, and start painting using simple brushes with blend properties. This is a really fun process, where I play with tonal value and composition and create fast thumbnails which gives us a preview on how the final cover might look like. For this cover, I did four proposals, all of them done in less than an hour. My editor ended liking option 4 above the rest.

The thubnailing process is a great tool to create fast proposals for a single idea.

The thubnailing process is a great tool to create fast proposals for a single idea.

*Bonus Step: Studies.

If I find the task in hand difficult, I might do some studies before hitting the challenge directly. On this opportunity, I wasn’t sure what palette I’d be using so I decided to look over a couple of these images, and paint copies on them. These studies can be a good warmup exercise, and also used to analyze the thought process and logic behind these pieces.

Study 1.jpg
Study 2.jpg

Step 3: roughs and palette

You know that I like line art on my illustrations. Maybe this is a remnant of my liking for comics, who knows. That is why I take the chosen thumbnail, increase its size, and start sketching above it. I use these rough lines to define the overall shapes and some details I consider important. When these rough lines are finished, I usually start playing with some gradient maps to define the overall mood of the piece (while value gives structure, color gives emotion)

Cover_Preludio_arcagen_sketch.jpg
Cover_Preludio_arcagen_sketch_2.jpg
Cover_Preludio_arcagen_sketch_palette.jpg

Step 4: Drawing

Now I know the overall structure and mood of my piece. Time to start drawing. On the rough lines, I stablished the gesture and overall shapes of the forms. Now, I define the drawing a bit more with one or two passes (each on a different layer), sketching some of the most important details like expressions, clothes, limbs, etc. The final pass or this process is the inking…which I will cover on a future entry. Stay tuned!

Working on more defined lines

Working on more defined lines

Please join me on a future journal entry to see the rest of the process, once the cover has been finished and approved. Thank you!

Peace

My deepest thanks to my supporters over Patreon:

  • Felipe Toncio

  • Andrés Silva

You can always support my work by visiting my Store and my Ko-f