Here's a rundown of the passes I did to build up this illustration
for the RPG core rulebook Fantasy Craft
The first thing I get is a description from the Art Director. This illustration was described as:An epic battle scene with humans, dwarves, elves, orks and other fantasy races. Something like this [sample image], but add a hulking ogre wielding a spiked wrecking ball on a chain that smashes into several soldiers. Make sure there is plenty of chaos and spraying blood on the battlefield. Also vary the weapons and armor I want each race to have its own distinct look.
And that's about all I have to start with.
From there I drew out the top rough sketch on a Layer in Manga Studio using the pen tool... there's pencil tools and such for roughs, but I enjoy sketching with the same tools I use for cleanup. In a very real sense it feels a bit like sketching with ballpoint pen, and I do very little erasing. The object of the initial rough is NOT to put in detail! It's important to just get a feel for the loose blocking of the composition, where the shapes will go and where the spaces will be left, etc. Detail at this stage will only be confusing, unless it's a focal aspect of the illustration.
That rough sketch is cleanup up on a second Layer with a more comprehensive (but still very rough) sketch, and that's what I send back to the AD for confirmation. The Art Director will let me know if there's anything they want changed, and if I need to resend it for confirmation again or just proceed with the cleanup, incorporating whatever changes they required.
The final image is the cleanup "inks", drawn on yet another Layer. The trick there, I think, is to not be too intimidated by all the chaos going on on. You just start on one side and work your way back and forth until you've gotten all of it. I think
I started with the background and moved forward, doing the tiny stuff first and then working up to the bigger characters, though to be honest I probably bounced back and forth a lot. Some details, like tattoos and insignia and such is put together at the very end, after all the figure work is done.
All the work was done with a 9x12 Intuos lap-tablet, and drawn directly in Manga Studio EX v.3, no trees needed. ©2008 Crafty Games
. Feel free to ask any questions that you've got, and I'll see if I can't clear it up some.