Calgary Expo 2017 Pin-Up: Puss In Boots

Each year the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo puts together an art book with pin-ups done by artists who will be exhibiting at the show. Proceeds from the art book sales and original art auction go to charity. This year the charity of choice is the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Alberta.

The theme of this year’s art book was ‘Fairy Tales and Classic Monsters’, so I decided to illustrate my version of Puss In Boots. Here’s how it progressed from concept to final:

STEP 1-Sloppy Gesture: This is where I’m just playing around with shapes, trying to find a really basic pose and silhouette that will work for my initial idea – Puss swinging in with a swashbuckling flare. It’s sloppy and loose and doesn’t look like much, but that’s how it starts.

STEP 2-Initial Sketch: From there I sketch right over top, building in the form and attitude of the character, trying to keep a sense of energy while also adding a bit of volume and consistency. Still pretty rough, but at least now we can tell what it is and see some potential.

STEP 3- Refinement: Fading back my previous digital layers, I take another attack on it, refining my choices and adding details. I wanted to add a bit more of a sense of ‘drag’ on his clothing and pushed the expression a bit more.

STEP 4- Final Lines: With the gesture and structure defined, I’m ready to finalize the line work with a tight digital ink layer. While I’m working away on this I try to balance the structure and gesture and add thick to thin lines or gaps to help visually separate areas and add a bit of extra weight to the final look.

STEP 5- Flat Colors: This is where I work out the base palette of colors for the piece. These flats also become easy to select areas when I’m rendering the illustration. I also added a simple pattern behind Puss to give the background a bit of texture.

STEP 6- Final: Shadows, highlights, and all around rendering is added along with my signature to finish it off. Our courageous swashbuckling feline is ready for adventure!

If you’re heading to the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo you’ll be able to pick up your own copy of the 2017 Artbook and I’ll be thrilled to sign a copy for you.

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