Monday, December 28, 2009

Polly Want A Soliloquy WIP

I was recently contacted by an awesome Prodigy fan site, The Prodigy Fanboy, with the request to create an illustration for a new site-layout banner, after the site's owner had caught wind of an old Prodigy bit of fanart of mine from 2004. A Prodigy fan for ages now, I couldn't help but agree.

The trick therein lie in the fact that, in the past 15 weeks, I haven't inked a single iota, as I've been in the middle of rough animation for Caravan throughout and the backgrounds, as well, have been in pencil. So, I decided to kill two birds with a single proverbial stone - teach myself to draw steadily on a Cyntiq, as well as re-sharpen my inking chops.

The guinea pigs for said practice project? A couple of main characters from a long-standing original concept of mine: Kamikaze's Rook, Reagan and Dymitri.

I picked a bit of the characters' story that always gives me a bit of a giggle: Wherein Reagan realizes, after much prolonged skepticism, that Rook is telling every bit of the truth about the pesky, yellow-eyed Corvid that has been following him around for days... He talks. Vividly, no less. Reagan shrieks. The bird, Dymitri, looks incredibly smug at startling the inferior bipedal specimens. Poor Rook just continues to look wholly disturbed.

Here's the progression on the image so far:

Steps in detail:
  1. The initial rough sketch. Each character, as well as the background are addressed on their own layers.
  2. Fleshing out the sketch a bit more, particularly where Rook is concerned. The bird, Dymitri, is also resized a bit to make the composition hold a little more weight.
  3. Opacity on each layer is brought down to about 40% to help separate them from the line work. Line work is, again, kept of its own character-by-character layer. Here, I've started final inks on Dymitri.
  4. Dymitri's line work completed, I move onto Rook.
  5. Rook is completed as well - Onto Reagan.
  6. All three characters completed in their inks. I also began sketching the background a bit more, teasing the idea, in the bottom right corner, of having a bunsen burner cooking a pot full of some ominous concoction for food. This was considered primarily for the purpose of having a blue flame as a light source in addition to the window. And yes, for the record, my sketching is usually this haywire when I'm not drawing on a clientele basis. It all makes sense to me, at least ;)
  7. Pushed down the characters' opacity tremendously to focus on the background. The backgrounds' lines are kept to a very minimum, as most of it will be built when I flat and color the thing. I also nixed the bunsen for what will be a rickety looking fire-hazard of a space heater, adding an orange light source to the space instead. It seemed more appropriately creepy, given the characters' expressions.
  8. Initial color study/flat layers. This will be a night shot, mostly monochromatic blue, save for the addition of the space heater's fiery glow.
More again from this image soon.


Patrick Stannard said...

Thank you for sharing Mel, this is quite helpful :).

Mel Miller said...

You're very welcome, Pat!

P.S. = Dude, we miss you! Will be spiffy to see you when you get home! I hope your New Years is treating you well so far :D