The Backstory: Please see the first PfK cover I did, Rekindling Old Friendships. The Process: The idea for this cover started out very fuzzy. Mur's first thoughts were something along the lines of either Keepsie being given the key to the city or Palas in the grips of the other dimensional tentacle. As we talked it over, the tentacle idea was more appealing. So, running with that notion we bounced a couple of possible scenes around, finally settling on something with Keepsie looking into the portal as Ian gets pulled in by the beast and Light of Mornings flying in to battle. After finding the details of the scene in my handy copy of Playing for Keeps, I came up with the pencil sketch.
For the portal edges I wanted to try a method I had seen on some random comic where the portal was a bunch of perfect circles punched out of the fabric of space. For the beasts, I thought they needed to be kinda grotesque, with beady little evil eyes. Hopefully that came across. After getting the thumbs up from Mur, I proceeded with the inks.
I choose to shade the beasts with stippling instead of hatching to give them a unique texture. I kept the same type of shading for the characters that I used in the previous pieces. This took a bit longer to do than the previous pieces because of all the detail. Thankfully, I could sit and stipple while watching TV - kinda like how people knit or whatever while watching TV. That's the great thing about stippling; you don't have to pay that much attention to what you're doing. It's quite relaxing in that sense.
And then there was the coloring... yeah... Can I tell you a secret? Coloring is my least favorite part of the process. I'm thinking a lot of it has to do with the fact that my eyes get sore looking at the computer screen for the time it takes to color a piece. That probably means I should take more breaks or something... ah well. At any rate, I was thinking on a Mars-esque color scheme, but I asked Mur what she had in mind before proceeding. Her color suggestions ended up being on par with what I was thinking. I actually found a photo of Mars and snagged some of the colors for the landscape. I then experimented with the colors for the beasts. Half a dozen color adjustments later I settled on the gray. The pink belly color fell nicely into place once that base color was sorted out.
I held off on coloring of the ink lines on this piece because I thought it looked better, more dramatic contrast and all that, with pure black lines everywhere. I did, however, make an exception with the background mountains and Light of Mornings' blast.
Additional Information: If you would like to see the über-sized version of this piece along with the PfK text and issue title added (J.C. Hutchins did a wonderful job integrating the image with the text, as always), you can download it here. I love the colors J.C. chose for the text. The bright greens and blues work really well. Also, the added detailing with the holes in the text is brilliant. :)
If you are interested in listening to this story, the first episode can be downloaded for free at Playing for Keeps or at Podiobooks.com. Or if you would rather read the story, go download the free PDF or purchase the book.
Technical Details Medium: Mixed Media (misc. black artist pens, PhotoshopCS2) Paper: Bristol Physical Size: 8.5in X 11in Digital Size: 8.5in X 11in @ 300dpi