Recently, I've had a lot of inquiries regarding my work process. And although this journal is anything but comprehensive, I thought it would be worth sharing anyway, to appease some of you curious minds. I don't usually work this way, it actually depends on what type of illustration / comic / subject matter I'm working on.
This image was created using Adobe Photoshop CS2 and a Wacom Intuos 3, at 300 dpi on an A4 canvas. It was completed in roughly 24 hours, spread across 3 days. A bit slow, I admit. That's what I get for not having a definite work process to stick to (although working on this did give me a few ideas on that...). And for not having a clear idea of what I wanted for the image.
When I first started with the image, I had no idea of what the final outcome would look like. All I knew was that I wanted a girl, a guy, guns, and blades. Danger, a hint of action, tension. And with inspiration coming in different forms, no matter how absurd or simplistic, this was as good a starting point as any. Besides, I just wanted to draw a finished piece so bad.
I sketched out some silhouettes. At this early stage, my only concern was the composition.
Once I settled the composition, I put in rough values using varying degrees of gray. Then I made a rough color guide using gradients with a few select colors. This color guide is the topmost layer, set on the layer blending option overlay.
Time to put in rough details on the subjects. All colors assigned to the characters were picked from the canvas and adjusted slightly, according to my preferences. This ensures that the subjects will match with the background later on.
Based on the rough details and character color guides, I proceed to smoothen out and create fine details in certain areas. The character renderings are not finalized yet, but they're nearly done.
Now it's time to move on to the background. Based on the intial rough guide, I create a more refined structure for the background, blocking in all the basic shapes. Along the way, I also add more detail to the characters; they're close to finished.
I continue refining the background by adding textures to it (photographs I took and textures I created using custom brushes and filters). At this point, the rendering part is finished.
The last step, a step I haven't done much until recently, is applying treatment on the image. I added a subtle texture on top of the rendered image, a few filters here and there, darkening some parts and lightening up other areas. Also, using the color balance image adjustment tool, I amped up the red, which the image seems to have lost in the rendering process. There, done! Hooray!