21 January 2013

Cain and Larkspur Dance Scene Illustration

For the pitch book, I've been working on adding one or more new pieces that have a lighter, more jovial atmosphere. This image is based off of a scene from the story, and though the details of that scene might change between now and the final product I wanted to capture the fun of that moment.

This was a very long work-in-progress, and is probably the largest and most detailed image I've done thus far, both in terms of background and number of characters.

The most challenging part was posing so many characters in ways that would be energetic and show their personalities, without awkward tangents or having weird cut-offs like Cain's arm blocking Guile's face.

I've had to repose some of the characters more than once, to help capture that energy of their dances. Cain and Larkspur are dancing "The Waltz" while Malachi and Bianca are dancing "The Tango." The others vary, or are doing their own dancing (like Guile).

The background and characters were sketched and inked in Photoshop. With the exception of any characters who are physically touching each other (Cain/Larkspur, Cera/Kyle, Malachi/Bianca), everyone was kept on separate layers to make it easier to adjust their size and position. Once inked, all of the characters were transferred to Illustrator and vectorized there. Ultimately, the characters' inks, colors, shadows, highlights and all color effects are vectors, and the background was painted in Photoshop and exported into the Illustrator file as a flat image. The Photoshop file has the background broken down into many layers. Many, many layers.

During the coloring process, I focused on the flat colors and textures (such as the wood texture) first. The light source was clearly established here, coming from the chandeliers above. So I added the shadows on the characters next, with that in mind.

I added the environmental shading/atmosphere at the end, mostly so I could see how the layers of color modes blended with the flat colors and shadows underneath.

 I would like to give a tremendous thanks to Allison Rose, Tracy MacLauchlan, Rhandi Fisher and Jay Miller who gave their time, support and critique to help make this image look its best!  Thank you so much, guys!!

Overall, this image took about 10 days to complete, with the resulting Photoshop file a whopping 200mb and the Illustrator file 50mb.  My computer cries when I open either of these files.

Many of the dancers are drawn almost full-body, but are layered so that they cover each other.  In a future post, I'll show each of the dancers individually. 


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