November 4, 2007

> Thumbnails, graphite on bond, 8.5 x 11".

Bill Willingham envisioned this cover as an animal (furry?) version of the Continental Congress, the characters on the Farm in a heated debate. I spent most of the day hashing out different thumbnails, but nothing really interested me. Papa Bear in a shouting match with humming bird, the cover maybe resembling a propaganda poster . . .

> Sketch comp, graphite on bond, photoshop CS2, 5.5 x 8.5".

Since we so rarely get a glimpse of the Farm on the cover, as well as a sense of life in the magical place where the 'furry fables' reside, I decided to depict the characters in a more thoughtful mood, a sense of tension and foreboding in the air, a snapshot of an otherwise normal day when incredible news is beginning to circulate in the morning. Thus, changing the premise of the cover gave me new perspective and resulted in a much better sketch.

> Drawing, graphite and blue pencil on Rives BFK, 15 x 22".

I blew up the sketch in Photoshop, taped the printouts together, and lightboxed the drawing onto the larger sheet of Rives BFK. I filled everything in with blue pencil first and darkened certain edges with graphite.

> Digital color, photoshop CS2, 7 x 10.5" @ 600dpi.

My flats on the left, and coloring on the right without the line layer visible. The coloring is actually quite loose and done with the default brush in Photoshop.

> Finish, photoshop CS2, 7 x 10.5" @ 600dpi.

I did think about painting this cover, but I knew that I couldn't easily replicate the lighting effects that were flickering about in my mind's eye. In any case, it was an interesting change of pace to get back to some digital work for the Fables covers. Meanwhile, I've been painting for myself on the side, but those images will remain secret for now.