Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Space Cadet Illustration, Step-by-step

Space Cadet: by Robert Heinlein. 
This is another cover painting for a Full Cast Audio package.

This is the finished cover art.

Concept sketch & Comp.

This is the rough concept; the initial sketch, and the comp (comprehensive) that I presented to the client. They liked the concept, so I started exploring composition & lighting.

 I built a helmet and a rough hatch, and posed a model in 3D software so I could explore the composition, lighting, and camera angles. The helmet gave me good reference for reflections, and shadows on the face.

Here's another angle, which I kind of liked. We decided we wanted the boy facing more toward the viewer.

Here's the final pencil sketch which I scanned and placed on a colored background in Photoshop. The colored background shows through in places in the final art, and helps tie everything together. I drew the space suit based on several reference photos I have on hand, plus the helmet I built in Strata 3D. The story refers to the helmet as a "fish bowl".

Beginning the painting with the face, which went through several updates throughout the painting process. I decided I didn't like the "accordion" neck of the space suit, so I painted over it with fabric.

A closeup of the panting further along. I used a Wacom graphics tablet and Photoshop CS5. Most of the panting was done with one brush, a pastel-like brush that gives some texture to the brush strokes.

The final, un-cropped painting.

[click on an image to view larger]

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