Hey guys, Will Sliney here. I just want to take you through my process of creating the Vance Astro Cover for issue 190 of the Classic Marvel Figurine Collection.
As far as covers go, this was quite a standard brief. The point of it was to convey Vance in a heroic pose, bringing in some of the cosmic elements that accompany the Guardians of the Galaxy. I was supplied with plenty of reference, and I picked up a copy of Guardians of the Galaxy just to familiarize myself even more with the character. The first step in any illustration piece, whether it's a comic book pg, a cover or anything, is to thumbnail it out. A thumbnail is basically a quick image drawn to put your ideas down onto paper. It's essentially a visual brainstorming session. For Vance I came up with over 20 thumbnails, as I wanted to make sure I got the right pose. I wanted to supply the guys at CMFG and Marvel with plenty of options too. The more thumbnails you draw, the greater the likelihood you have of creating a decent image.
In the end, these were the 8 thumbnails I chose to send. My personal favourites were 1 and 3. Luckily for me, they chose to go with no. 3 With the layout chosen, its time to build up the figure. I work digitally in layers, but this is essentially the same as building up layers of pencil. I tend to work from very basic up. Adding in the Gesture first.
Followed by the musculature. Essentially, by now, all the hard work is done.
Over this I lay down the inks. After figuring out the lighting and shadows, all of the hard decisions have been made, now I can concentrate on the line weights and quality, giving the figure that polished finished.
Looking at the shield, I spent quite a while adding in tons of reflection lines. That's just a rendering technique that I enjoy doing myself.
To give it that cosmic feel I added in the classic Kirby Krackle that was made so famous back in the sixties by Jack Kirby himself.
When considering colour, I chose to invert the background and use the Kirby Kracle as a negative space window, through which I could add some nice space themed colours.
Now, onto colouring. First things first, I flat the image. This just separates out the individual areas for quick colouring. I find this the most tedious part of the colour process.
Add in the shading, and lighting in the figure. Make sure you pay attention to the lighting that was created in the inking stage of the figure.
After the lighting is done I usually apply a mood filter depending on the environment that the character is in. This is done by creating a separate layer of strong colour and adjusting its opacity. Basically it's like placing a light see through colour filament over the piece. Finally, add the background colours and give the shield some nice shiny effects.
Then one final change, (a good suggestion from my editor) to play down some of the line work in the white areas of the suit as well as some background tweaks.
And we are done! Hope you guys liked the step by step process. You can see more of my work over at my blog at sliney.blogspot.com