Finished up the color art for my little mushroom turtle. I've been calling him Stinker.
(Read my first post about this guy for insight into the pencil and ink process.)
At the time I drew him I knew I wanted to do color and was looking forward to using a rich, creamy palette for him. I spent most of last week finishing the color art on a pair of commissions and I feel the many hours spent on recent projects is already helping me dial in an efficient method that produces the result I'm looking for.
(You may remember that one of my first blog posts was about my color problem.)
As I've done with other color pieces recently, I first looked for an image with a color palette that's in the ballpark of what I'm aiming for. In this case, I turned to a Mouse Guard image I love by David Petersen.
That got me close, and from there I tweaked and adjusted until I found colors that felt the best to my eyeballs. Here's a look at the flat colors for Stinker with all-black lines. (One interesting note: when I do the gradients and shading work I tend to shift the colors to warmer tones, and in anticipation of that I allowed the flats to be much cooler and the warm reds and purples came in during the rendering.)
I'm increasingly leaning into the use of gradients to get me where I want to go with the color rendering, and they're doing a lot of the heavy lifting on this one. Every piece of this image got a gradient before any shading/highlighting happened. Here's a look at how that feels with the main gradients in place before any detail work.
From there it was a process of choosing edge highlights and some heavier shadows to add. In both cases, I lassoed those out and used a hue/saturation adjustment to get where I wanted to go. Doing it that way vs with a brush preserves the gradient, which is super handy, and I enjoy the clear edges on the shadows/highlights more than the softer brushwork.
For the multi-colored stink wafting off him, I did a little painting work with an airbrush to help mix the three colors together and make them feel a bit more organic than the base gradient.
Lastly, I worked on the line art, shifting the full lines to a deep purple color and using a paintbrush set to screen mode to add highlights. I also separated the lines for the mushroom stink and made those a lighter, more vibrant purple.
That's it for this guy! It looks like I'll be making some big changes to the content of the blog and website starting next week, so be on the lookout for a post with details about that next week!
Cheers until then.