A handful of folks have wondered about the magical process used to make the vs images we use here at Couch Tarts. If you've ever wondered, this post is for you.
If you aren't one of those people, you can read it too, but don't blame me if you get bored.
Anyway, step one:
Gray has an idea and sketches it out in her sketchbook.
This can actually take awhile, as I go through several iterations of different ideas until I pick one I like.
Because this sketch was large, relative to my other ones, I scanned it in, shrunk it down, and printed it out.
After I sketch it out (or print it out, depending on size) I grab some tracing paper and *GASP* trace the image! OMGWTFBBQ!
Artists trace all the time. If you want to clean the drawing up there's no real need to redraw the whole thing from scratch. Trace! Work smarter not harder. Some people use yellow post its. I prefer tracing paper in this case because I don't need a lightbox to redraw things.
At this point I take my saral paper and transfer the image to watercolor paper. (I use 140lb cold press. Brands vary. I buy what's on sale.)
This requires that I once again "trace" the image, though this time I use a mechanical pencil or dead pen because I really just want to apply pressure and get the stuff of the transfery part of the transfer paper to, well, transfer. I don't have a picture of this, but it basically looks like the drawing, done in pencil. Saral paper comes in red, yellow, blue, and graphite, I think. Graphite works pretty well for this.
After that, I ink it. I use a dip pen or a brush. Sometimes a bamboo pen. It depends on how heavy or fine I want the lines and what I feel will give me the most control. With the watercolor paper, I usually opt for the brush because the pens rip the paper apart, which is no fun and leads to blotches.
I prefer to use Dr. Ph Martins Bombay Black India Ink because it's damn near waterproof. Plus, the black is lovely and dark right out of the bottle.
I usually transfer and ink several drawings at once. It's just easier that way because I can get a lot of stuff moving along in the production line all at once. But that's a matter of personal preference. I did these one at a time last season and it's felt a lot smoother doing them in groups.
Then the ink dries.
I call this snack time.
Next I paint. Well, sort of.
I use watercolor pencils and water brushes. Why watercolor pencils, you ask? Because they are AWESOME!! I do have traditional watercolors laying about, but I MUCH prefer the pencils. More control and less screaming at the paper/paints. Watercolors can be difficult.
I color the image first then grab my water pen, get the nib wet and go to town. I paint by color, all browns at once, all blues, all blacks, all greens, etc. I also wipe the pen off between colors so I don't contaminate the other areas with unwanted color. I have three pens, small, med and large nibbed, and obviously chose based on the size of the area I need to paint. For this guy I used exclusively the large brush, but for most it's a mix between all three.
After that, I let it dry, scan it and, if needed, do whatever little fussy cleaning up I want to do in Photoshop. Then I pick a shark to go with it, add my type, save and call it a day. You see the finished product every gameday thread.
Not much to it. Despite that it can be a decently time consuming endeavour. You get faster the more you do, but still, 29 teams and however man sharks I settle on is no small project. It's fun though, and I enjoy making them.