Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Steampunk Hat

I had one of the biggest surprises in my life as a colorista when I got invited (more like 'assigned' haha!) to a Facebook chat group that was to be the temporary  homebase of cover artists for Narelle Craven's latest Percy title, "Percy and the Mystic Island". It was a no-brainer, I said yes immediately, and was assigned by the team to color the only steampunk image in the book, a portrait of a lady wearing a hat with gears and spokes. 

In any project in the past that I wished to give my all in I always enlarged the size before I rendered on it. I did the same to this image, I had it printed on an A3 size vellum board. 

I took out my PanPastel pans for skin shades (orange tint, red iron oxide, red iron oxide tint, burnt siena, burnt siena tint) and started to dab her neck and shoulder little by little with its chalk powder. After a few hours I was happy with the result. 

Coloring the rest of the details was something I struggled with. I realized that the artist in me wanted a monochromatic approach to most of the parts. I wasn't very sure though that my wild idea would be acceptable to Narelle Craven, whose past Percy coloring book series were known for their colorful covers and art. To end the struggle I succumbed to my need for self-expression. 

I first went ahead with the bluish colored lighting effect shining from the back. I think I used more than three shades of blue there. Polychromos oil pencils of Faber Castell has the most exciting blue shades around! The bluish light was supposed to be cast all the way up to the lower part of the gears on her head. Whenever I'd get bored in the middle of my coloring (which took about 5 days to finish) I would take a photo of my wip using my phone camera and play with the light adjustment in the edit feature. 

The above image was how it looked when set towards the dark end. Notice how the blue light effect seemingly shows protruded details on the butterfly-like figure behind her shoulder? I love how the use of light blue colors helps achieve that drama. 

Likewise the orange light shining in front of her casts a pale glow on the vegetation growing to her right. I just love the subtle drama it shows.

I'm glad I did follow my instincts because in the end Narelle said she loved the finished work, teared up a bit even.

As for the background, the clouds, I colored most of the parts using both of my hands. Am not ambi but I decided I'd make use of the extra hand, after all it was capable of holding the pencil upright and moving it slightly. 

The book just recently came out. It WAS available in Amazon US and Colour of Calm Australia, unfortunately I heard it's already sold out. Worth waiting for the next batch of printing, that's for sure.

As for the Steampunk Hat image it's already been exhibited in a mall display for colorists last weekend, and someone has already offered to purchase it. I'm still thinking about selling it though.

Exciting times indeed! Who knows what lies ahead for us modern day coloristas. 

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