Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Like the New Banner?

Well... I became inpatient... so I decided to put the new banner up a few days early. Whattaya' think?

I roughly sketched about 15-20 different thumbnail designs for the new banner until I finally came up with a layout I liked. Some other concepts were the three guys raking/jumping into piles of leaves, walking through the woods & harvesting. I briefly considered doing holiday-themed banners for Halloween (pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, etc.) or Thanksgiving (turkey dinner, football, etc.), but I decided against those ideas believing I should focus more on fall itself & not the holidays. One idea that I liked a lot was one of Cannibal Chicken catching leaves with his tongue as if they were winter snowflakes, but I scrapped that at the last minute 'cause I couldn't plan it out right on paper.

I finally came up with a concept I liked: pumpkin picking. I then drew a larger rough draft to plan out the composition & poses in the scene. The only difference in the original draft & the final draft up top is that Steve-O was originally the scarecrow instead of Cannibal Chicken, but once I thought of adding the crows at the last minute, I knew Cannibal Chicken would fit better with them. I also added the fence, barn & tied bundles of stalk later on.

Then I began to draw the final draft. The actual drawing is about 10.5" wide & 4.5" high. I first drew it extremely rough in blue pencil to lay out the characters & objects in the scene , then went over it once more in green to pinpoint & clean up the lines. Then I began to ink the drawing:

Here's what it looked like about halfway through the inking process. Notice the light green & blue lines underneath before I erased them later on:

Once the inking was done, I erased all the green & blue pencil lines & shaded the drawing in black Ebony pencil. I like to do that because it gives the drawing a nice sketchy texture underneath the color, almost like an old book illustration:

Then comes the fun part: the color. Surprisingly, it ended up being a lot easier than I thought it would be. The only difficulty I had was coloring the pumpkin patch & the corn & bundles on the left. It ended up consisting of about 15 layers, from the purple & cream sky on the bottom to the shadows on the top.

Overall, I'm very satisfied with the way it came out. There aren't as many noticeable mistakes as the last banner & I think the poses & colors are a bit stronger & more defined here as well. It's definitely an improvement over my summer banner & I'm looking forward to it being the first thing I see when I check my blog for the next few months. I hope you think so to!

More to come soon!


Anonymous said...


Douglas said...

Hey it looks great! Are you just freestyle painting in Photoshop? It must have taken a while to do it, that way, but the end product has a very nice feel to it. Fall is my favorite season and now that I just moved to warmer climates, I'm going to miss it.

thedoreenster said...

definitely was worth the time you put into it. i can't wait til the nice 65 degree weather kicks in. :)

Michael J. Ruocco said...

Douglas - I don't exactly know what you mean by "freestyle painting", but it probably took me about a solid hour to color. I basically painted on a layer behind the top linework layer, so it was basically just a game to color inside the lines like a coloring book.