Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How I Design A Book Cover Part 2: Choosing the right medium and surface

One of the best things about being an older and more experienced illustrator is that I have a lot of tools in my tool kit. I can make better decisions about what medium to use on which surface.

Star Map Inspiration
I’ve chosen the create a star map as part of my book cover illustration. The inspiration is a Tibetan Star map I found online. Because the map is highly technical I felt that paint wouldn’t be the right medium for it. I’ve used colored pencils on dark paper many times with great success. So I decided to do some color tests to see if that would be the right medium and surface for this piece.

Some of my colored pencil pieces on medium and dark Canson papers.
As it turned out the Prismacolors weren’t giving me the effect that I wanted. The colors were too dull, and the color harmony was off. I experimented with Neocolor II Aquarelles, next. They worked better, giving me the pop of color I needed with the added benefit that you can sharpen them for technical work.

As Canson paper won’t hold up for wet media, I dug out a sheet of black Stonehenge paper. This heavier paper can handle light and medium washes just fine and will be a better match for the Neocolors. Another advantage to using these watercolor crayons is that I’m able to give the girl’s face a more painterly look.

Color Design Tests for the Book Cover
Art is no mystery. It’s a series of carefully considered decisions.

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