The Deck of the Planes from Scribbles to Print
For the upcoming book on Jesters from Alluria Publishing I had the task of illustrating a magical deck of cards used by Jesters. What follows is a description of my process of working through the commission from beginning to end.
I started with the description from Alluria:
The Deck of the Planes: A magical deck used by Jesters. This deck has four unique suites. Suite of Chaos, Suite of Sea, Suite of Shadow, and Suite of Wild.
Suite of Chaos: Ever changing, everything about this Suite is in constant flux
Suite of Sea: This Suite glows slightly shimmering with scales.
Suite of Shadow: Cool to the touch no two people see this Suite in the same way.
Suite of Wild: This Suite vibrates to the touch, and those who hold its cards often hear the sounds of nature and her beasts roaring inside them.
I read and re-read the text. Alluria also included information on how the Jesters could use the cards to cast various spells. The challenge was trying to depict a whole deck of cards in a way that can be shown in only a couple illustrations. I started to doodle and let my imagination wander.
In order to free up my imagination I put down a few scribbles in a 30% gray marker. Then I used pen to start pulling details out of the marker. After a few doodles I settled on the idea of showing the King of each suite. That way I could capture the unique feel of each suite in a way that the viewer could compare across each image.
Using the descriptions as my guides I continued to doodle and scribble in my sketchbook using marker and pen. I then scanned the scribbles in, lightened the image, and digitally scribbled a bit more.
Then I printed the scribbles out very lightly on Bristol paper, and drew a very tight pencil drawing of each King.
I scanned those in and printed them out again very lightly on Bristol paper and did a value drawing in Burnt Umber Acrylic Ink.
Finally I scanned those in and digitally altered them to ad color and make them look like cards. I also added a unique “K” to each piece to make sure they looked like the King of a Suite. The nice thing about doing the Burnt Umber Ink drawings is that it makes it easier to alter the color digitally.
In the end I had four unique Kings of the various Suites from the Deck of the Planes and a happy client.
Alluria Publishing’s book on Jesters is do out at the end of January 2010.