Monday, November 17, 2014

Making of 'The First Ideal'

So this past Saturday my poster for Brandon Sanderson's The Stormlight Archive series went on sale! The first 100 copies ordered will be signed by both me and Brandon so if you're looking for some awesome wall art for this Christmas season, now is the time. The final prints are on high quality paper and turned out lovely.
In this post I'll be talking a bit about my process for this piece. Like most of my work, it's a digital painting based on a pencil sketch. 


First things first, we went through quite a few thumbnails before creating the initial sketch. That sketch was then tweaked significantly in photoshop to work on the kinks, adjusting the proportions, armor design, and architectural elements.  

After getting the sketch where I wanted it, it was time for value studies and color tests. These  were reviewed and sent back with suggestions by Brandon's art director,  Isaac. 

After deciding on a color scheme, I got started painting. My digital painting process is based on Julie Dillon's, which starts with a value painting before adding on an overlay layer and then multiply layer of strong color in photoshop. The original color scheme was a lot warmer than the final, with primarily red tones. We also had a gold framing device that was later scrapped in favor of the added columns. 

After getting the base colors put down, it was time to start the actual painting process. On a new layer, I got my brushes and got to work. 

While painting, I constantly readjusted the colors by putting overlay layers at low opacities on top of the painting. Then I created a new layer on top of those and kept on painting until I got the colors where I wanted them. To keep the symmetry in the architectural elements,I would copy and then mirror the base painting on the left hand side to the right hand side and paint over the copy. This is also when I decided that the gold border just wasn't working and replaced it with the columns. 

The 'final' piece turned out like this, and I sent it to Isaac for approval.

 It was at this stage that we realized we were missing key elements from canon to make these characters more like the Knights Radiant, like their signature glow. We also wanted to try adding in a little ethnic diversity to the piece but due to time constraints ultimately decided to keep the characters as they were. You can see the in-process attempt below. 

We shifted the color balance of the piece as well, cooling down the overall tone, and viola! The finished piece! It was wonderful working on this project and I hope fans of the series enjoy the final product. Check out the Stormlight Archive for the back story behind this piece as well as great characters, diverse world building, awesome lady scientists, political intrigue, magical swords, and a whole lot more!

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