making cover 4 for Batman: Streets of Gotham
1- normally for a cover, i work with a collaborative with the writer ( in this case, mr paul dini) and our editor. I normally shoot out about 2-4 sketches roughed in photoshop if i have time.
sometimes i give one sketch if we're crammed or im really set on one idea (like in the case of this one- http://duss005.deviantart.com/art/batman-in-wonderland-76344595 ).
This time around, Paul actually sent in a picture he took of himself holding a knife included with a video clip of an old b&w movie to give the perfect feeling of the characters mood and gestures. it was dead on what we wanted to get across i felt. but still, keeping things open, i tried a few other layouts. none was as effective as paul's, and i knew it. so i went with #1.
2- i do a cleaner linework i can use. blow it up to 12 x 18 and trace it over to 300lb softpress paper ready to paint.
3- using liquid masking, i cover up everything but the background. i went with a simple dripping blood red so that the background provides enough for the character's mood, but not to overpower it with useless details. his expression and gesture shoudl be most important and nothing else.
4- removed the masking and going forward to paint in the main character, im horrible with painting a likeness and making stuff look real, so i rarely even try. plus if i wanted realism, i'd take a picture, watercolor is fun because it paints itself.
5- i come back with color pencil and ink and add in all the scar marks that Zsasz uses to tally up his kills. real scar marks will not be this dark, scar tissue leaves a pinkish purple tone and most the time way lighter. In this character, i felt it was more striking to show the markings than to make it "real" real. plus with as many cuts as he has, pinkish purple woudl make him look more diseased than dangerous crazy.
6- i add in batman's shadow using photoshop, it doesn't completely wrap around him like in a real photo, but it works well without warping too much of the silhouette so you can tell its batman.
i was very tempted to do another layer of paint to use for the shadow, but there were so many textures and linework going on already, i felt one more layer of paint would come off more as texture rather than a casting shadow.
also- at this stage, i readjust the colors scanned into photoshop which is why it looks darker than the previous.
* ive found the best way to scan watercolor if you cant photograph it is to scan in full color, create a duplicate of it and set that layer to multiply. all the colors you've lost through the light shooting right thru your transparent watercolor should not be back without leveling or using your curves. hope that answers any questions about that part.
the final can be seen here-