The first part of any good piece is reference. To understand the visuals of the world you want to create, you need to start immersing yourself in it. Thank jeebus for the internet, that makes this process go by very quickly. This particular piece is a mock comic cover for Weird Western. My initial idea was to take a cowboy, and crank the creepiness up to the max. So I googled everything, bandannas, guns, saloons, old men, creepy stares, horror movies, and just sketched as I went.
After that, the idea started to solidify, and this was the resulting sketch.
Blech, creepy, right? There are some sizing issues, and the lighting is definitely not all the way, but this is a good point to jump off from. So from here, I started some color testing, since I was going to be working in acrylics.
I just scanned the sketch and printed a whole bunch of copies so I could test different combinations. In acrylics, there is not a ctrl-z, so this was the best way to keep from goofing up the finished piece. You can also see some printed out reference in the corner.
Now we move onto the real deal. I was using 11x17 Bristol board that needed to be affixed with tape to keep it from buckling. I typically use acrylic paints more like watercolors, so it needs to be kept flat the entire time I work on it, or else it will be a wavy mess. After taping it, I sketched my creeper down, this time with proper proportions and some hints at where the lighting will go. Then, working layer by layer, I put down color. The first (and most important) layer is a golden yellow color that I put over the entire piece of paper. This makes the color scheme look more unified later on, like every piece of the image is in the same light.
So here's what that looks like in the beginning.
On the next thrilling episode of art blog, you get to see the finished piece!