Back in October, when I was doing some cons, I took my sketch book along. In between customers, I drew this over-sized, mini dwarf guy. I was enamored with him and especially the cranky pig pulling the cart. I decided to finalize the idea as my first postcard project mailer for 2015.
The original sketch, while charming, was lacking in both depth and story, so I redrew it to add more dimension and perspective. Lacking both a pig and a cart for reference, I made a cart out of a file folder, and a pig’s foot out of some clay. You know the kind, the actual dirt and mud type clay, not sculpty-type. I have about 8 pounds of the stuff. Now I had 3 dimensional reference.
Once I had the reference, I took pictures of the resulting models, and came up a with a new sketch. I gave the both the dwarf and the pig more personality and added movement to the cart, pots and pans. The postcard project was in full swing.
After a year or so struggling to get digital painting to look like traditional watercolor and being unsatisfied with the results, I decided to go back to my true love of transparent watercolors. However, I am still utilizing digital tools. One of the things I dreaded the most of the traditional art process was the laborious transfer of final sketch to watercolor paper. I have a huge light box. I used to tape my sketch to the glass and place the watercolor paper on top. I had to wait for full dark until I could trace the sketch on to the paper with pencil. It was a long, backbreaking and nit-picky process. Now, I use Adobe Illustrator to do my line work. Much easier to make adjustments and not have to worry about damaging the tooth of the watercolor paper. Once I am happy with the inking phase, I print it out on my large format printer right on the paper.
The painting process begins as soon as the printer ink has time to set. About 30 minutes seems to be optimum. Less time than that and it tends to run.
Adding color is the most fun part of the postcard project for me. I love watching my characters come to life. They do tend to take on a personality of their own as painting progresses.
Once the traditional painting phase is complete, I scan the image back into the computer and do final retouching in Photoshop. You can see from the final image below, I adjusted values on the cart and the background, darkened areas of the dwarf and removed the cross-bar shadows under the cart. (They were distracting and confusing.)
For the postcard itself, I added my name and website in a band of yellow. The back of the card is black and white and included the rest of my contact information.
All the cards got mailed out this week. I feel good about getting a head start my quarterly postcard mailings. Maybe this year I will even hit my target goal of four mailings.
If you want to see the image at a larger size, please visit my fantasy art portfolio.