If you're like me, you always love a good process breakdown, where an artist takes a piece they did and takes you through the creation process step-by-step. If you're not like me, feel free to skip this post.
I wanted to create a fun faux-poster to help promote my first feature film credit, Smurfs: The Lost Village. Something that I could use across my various social media platforms. Step one was to envision what that might look like--first in my head, then on paper--refining and tweaking things along the way. Just loose scribbles with a fine Sharpie pen on paper.
Once I had a basic idea of what I wanted (*Note: if I had more time or if this was a paid gig, there would be much more development, but since this was just for me, "good enough" was good enough), I hopped over to a little program called Photoshop and turned those rough ideas into rough digital ideas. Lots of lasso tool usage and rearranging, again never being too precious, since this was to be a quick process.
After getting everything where I wanted it to be, it was time to clean up the lines. And that's just what I did. See?
I kept each character on their own layer, just in case I needed to rearrange on the fly. This also made it easier to color the line art, which you can start to see here, plus a big gradient of color in the background and a "white paint behind" layer behind the characters to separate them from said background.
Time to color! You can see here that I've got the majority of the line art colored matching local colors and most characters have been colored with a flat color. Blocking everything in. Thankfully, with the Smurfs, the colors were already all figured out and I have been able to sample exact colors from the original comics.
The coloring process continues. Having not drawn these characters in awhile, keen viewers will notice a few details here and there that I've had to go back in and add as I pull up old model sheets and refine everything. At this point, every line has been colored, as well as every character. No stone has been unturned.
Tone and highlights time! On the rare occasions that I colored in my storyboards for the film, I found that a nice purple shadow really made their blue skin pop, so I've used purple for all the shadows. I also went in and added a heavenly light from above just to give the characters a little more dimension.
And that's that! Again, this was a very quickly-assembled little promo piece. In total, I'd say not even a full day's work, though it was spread out over a few days time. It was great to be able to revisit these characters again and to [mostly] still be able to draw them from memory. I hope you enjoy the poster, and please do be sure to check out Smurfs: The Lost Village at a theater near you!