Hopefully everyone who visits this blog knows that Christopher Mills and I are releasing the first chapter of PERILS ON PLANET X as a webcomic. If not, you do now. Each Friday beginning February 1st we will release a new page in the exciting adventures of Terran Donovan Hawke on the mysterious planet of Xylos. You can find out more about it here: PerilsOnPlanetX.com.
I thought I would share the roughs and comps that helped developed the first chapter cover. I can't tell you the exact thought process that went through it all because it was several years ago. And frankly I had completely forgotten about the comps I did. But they will still be fun to look at. I hope.
Below is the first rough. I started with pencils and the sketch is only about 4 inches tall, if that. The idea was to introduce our main characters and some elements of the first chapter. I took the movie poster approach here.
The next step was to do a basic color comp. I didn't get that far really. I just blocked in what I thought would be a nice warm contrast to the logo. We quickly moved from there.
Rough #2 was a bit more dynamic. And at some point we decided to make the image a wraparound cover. It was all the rage back then. Our hero Hawke in an action pose with the other characters around him. I gave our "bad girl" the lions share of the back cover strangely enough. Funny that at the time I had thought of her with long red hair, both in the first rough and this one. The color comp followed.
Below we have the beginnings of what would be the final idea. Still a wraparound cover. The publisher at the time had agreed to it. Some elements of the first and second roughs have come back in a slightly different form. While it still retains a movie poster look, it has also taken on the look of sci-fi/fantasy novel cover. Something I know I was shooting for in the end. During all these stages Chris was providing feedback and constructive critiques, making this a true collaborative effort.
At this point in my career I was using a different painting process. I would do complete finished art in pencil (see below) and seal that with a fix-a-tif spray so it wouldn't smear. I would then block in the color with an airbrush, not using any stencils so as to avoid hard, cut edges. When that was completely dry, I would go back and define everything with paint brush and color pencils. Since moving to Florida I never replaced my air tank for airbrush work and have since moved on to other processes. But I still like this process quite a bit.
Below is the digital color comp I used for creating the final image.
And then the final image.
Perils On Planet X © Christopher Mills and Gene Gonzales
Artwork © Gene Gonzales
If there is a continued interest in this type of post, I will share some other behind the scenes art and design for the series in the future.
This is Post #1945