Zub Calgary Expo Pin-Up 2016 – Step By Step

As part of the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo each year there’s a special artbook that includes pin-up illustrations from many of their guests. This is the show’s 11th anniversary and I’m proud to say I’ve attended each and every show and have a pin-up in every artbook they’ve produced so far.

Thankfully, this year is no exception.

The theme for 2016 was “Fairy Tales & Classic Monsters”, so I put together a piece using a Jack and the Beanstalk as my inspiration. Here’s a walkthrough of the process for my piece. Click on each one to see a larger version:


STEP 1: Thumbnail – Sometimes it can be helpful to start really small and think only in terms of broad shapes and forms to create a strong composition. I thumbnailed out this quick sketch with a Col-Erase blue pencil and liked the possibilities it presented.


STEP 2: Rough – Scanning the thumbnail and working over top of it digitally in Photoshop, I added structure and gesture to the base shapes and it’s starting to come together.


STEP 3: Work Up – Fading back the other layers, I digitally draw over top of it again and add in character expression and details while trying to keep the energy from the earlier steps intact.


STEP 4: Final Lines – Opening up the work up version in Manga Studio, I digitally ink the final lines bit by bit, clarifying some of the looser forms and using thicker or thinner lines to help visually separate major areas and indicate depth.


STEP 5: Final – Bringing the lines back into Photoshop, I add color to give the whole thing mood and texture. I keep the rendering pretty simple to give it an animated appearance.


Close Up – Here’s a zoom in of Jack happily climbing the beanstalk. I’m pretty happy with how his gleeful expression turned out.

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