Evolution of a Cover: "Heaven's Door"

I recently did a promotional comic for Goonworks Films, a teaser for a movie they're working on called "Heaven's Door".  The screenplay is an edge-of -your-seat read, and once they get it in production, I know it's gonna be getting A LOT of attention.  Working on the comic was a lot of fun and the story is filled with all the stuff I love to draw: moody outdoor environments, detailed interiors, and quirky characters.  I'll post pages once Goonworks gets the film's website up, but, for now, here's a quick post showing the cover process:

1) I sketched out seven thumbnail ideas, and the writer liked #3 best and suggested adding some other elements.


 2) Taking that rough, I sketched out a larger, revised version in ink at almost print size (about 6"x9")
 3) Next, I did a color study in Photoshop and dropped in a quick logo to see if the composition worked:
4) Everything seemed ok, and I got the go ahead from the writer.  I enlarged the black and white rough 170% and, with my lightbox, redrew it on 2 ply bristol board in light blue prismacolor pencil.  (I converted the blues to gray in the pic below).
5) After checking with the writer, I break out my two favorite brushes (Winsor & Newton Series 7 #2 and #6) and my half dozen jars of Dick Blick Black Cat ink in various stages of dilution.  Easily my favorite part of the process, I slap down rather loose washes before going in with straight ink for definition.  Just when I think I've overworked it, I stop and use white acrylic to clean up mistakes and add special effects.
  6) Now it's on to color.  I scan the artwork into Photoshop, clean up more mistakes, and start coloring.  I'm pretty simplistic with the whole digital coloring process (obviously!) and just sorta stumble my way through using a few gradients and a VERY limited palette based on the muted colors of traditional newsprint comics.  I filled the gray linework with different colors (purple in the background and dark blue for the foreground figures) to create some depth.

7)Finally, I reworked the rough logo in Illustrator (using a commercial font) and the whole thing's complete.




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