This month, in the lead-up to the Creatures of Light paperback release, I've been producing all kinds of bonus content--including character profiles for a few final main characters. The most significant, of course, is Celeno, Seventh King of Alcoro and sort of the unwitting epicenter of all the messes everybody's sorting through in the series. His character design has remained fairly constant from my early drafts--my mom fan-cast him as Oscar Isaac pretty early on, which has given me a good stable design foundation (as well as a phone gallery full of Poe Dameron screencaps).
For Celeno's official character portrait, I took a video of my Photoshop process, from sketch to finished product. Check it out below the jump:
There's no voice-over on this video, though there are on a few of my other videos, with tutorial narration on Mae's portrait that includes tips on brushes, textures, etc. The basic process is a loose sketch, followed by more refined line art on a separate layer. I turn off the sketch layer and add a flat color layer under the line art, during which I use the Hue/Saturation tool to set my palette (this helps me keep things from getting too saturated). I merge the line art and color layers and add a Multiply mask, usually in a purple or blue hue, and then erase large sections of highlights. I merge those, and then it's just painting painting painting. I use the color picker to select mid-tones and spend most of the time just smoothing everything out. Add some final Screen highlights, and ta da! A color character portrait.
The neat thing about these character profiles is that I've been doing them now for three years, posting them with each new book release. Because they're all in the same format, it's easy to see the slight shifts in my style from then to now.
For more on my artistic process and character design throughout this trilogy, take a look at the awesome video produced by my publisher, Harper Voyager. This one does have narration and showcases more progress clips and insights behind the designs for different characters:
Finally, if you like watching these kinds of progress videos, you should check out the event I'll be doing at the Pelham Road library in Greenville, SC on April 19! I'll be doing a live-drawing demonstration, while talking about my process for character creation. If you're in the area, come check it out! Details on my Events page.
February Art Roundup
My just-for-fun output was pretty low this month as I was producing all kinds of material for the Creatures of Light launch party!
Emily B. Martin
Author and Illustrator