Monday, 27 July 2015

When wars lay asleep

Another twist in the events! :D

This is most probably the least 'old school' project ever shown here, if just for the technique :P
But being old school is not restraining oneself to techniques, being tied to procedures or getting stuck in the stone age; as much wiser people than I have philosophed, the 'oldschool' attitude is an ethos, a way of understanding things and, on that behalf, it doesn't matter I am painting old Grenadier or Citadel minis or, as today, I exercise myself on drawing using Photoshop.

Let's begin. My friend just wrote a novel. Sci-fi with some touches of classic introspection on moral issues, i.e., not just a space opera, but something more in the taste of classic sci-fi. He asked me to design the cover, as he is self-editing the book and an illustration could be provided if you wanted to avoid a generic heartless illustration from some outsider.

(Of course that outsider would be a professional illustrator who would achieve a much finer piece than I could ever dream, but woah, I was just adding a little drama to the situation!)

So, first element would be... space. Pitch black space seeded with stars. I stole a pic from the internet, as well as a pic of Earth to represent the planet in the novel. Pasted the two of them and then it came to the artistic part. The planet was to be defended with ring-shaped space stations. Drew (and copy-pasted) this:

Based on a ball bearing :D
My friend asked for four rings instead of three. I added another one then and begun to add stuff, sort of Death Star imaginery, with docks, cranes, guns and anything that would add texture.

Looks crowdy
There's no point in telling otherwise, achieving just this stuff took me weeks and endless weeks. That's the stuff with learning! But what came later was a much slower process. A space ship was to be added (to give balance to the composition).
Concept Ships is of course the place to go for inspiration. I can spend hours and hours drooling over the talent of people. And I can spend months trying to get this:

I mean it. Months. Sigh
I added some kind of drop pods being shot and then commited the challenge of the central figure. I stole a pic from the net, converted it into a silhouette and used it for human proportions reference:

Yup, I know. Real illustrators don't need this trick. Duly noted
The body armour was a mix of a shameless collage and puny attempts of drawing by myself. Weeks (and weeks) later, I came with a version that my friend considered satisfactory:

I confess, those are Robocop's legs. Guilty as charged, officer
The inspiration for the weapon was a HK G36, but I hope no one would say so when seeing this:

Admiring the vacuity of the vacuum
So that pic was what I finally delivered to my friend. I know, there are thousands of mistakes. Proportions, angles, textures, lights, shadows. And thousands more I am not even aware of! But this being my first major attempt apart from the illustrations I made during my basic photoshop course last year, I can declare myself happy with the outcome.

The guys from the editorial (though being a 'self-edition' there are a number of professionals behind all this, of course) didn't think the same, for sure (once again I'm being polite). But as this was what the author of the novel provided them, they had to take it. This is the final cover for the product:

Light and ray effects added for dramatic purposes
I'm afraid it's only in Spanish for now, but if you dare to practice the language, you can find the Ebook version at El Corte Inglés and La Casa del Libro.

Any professional illustrator (and most of the amateur ones) would be right to laugh and point all the obvious, absurd mistakes I made. But don't worry, this is just the first one. When I've done about two thousand illustrations for sure I'll be improving! So I guess I have some homework to do...


  1. More power to your elbow Sir.

    1. Thank you! I really need to keep on drawing!

  2. That is amazing, my friend! Great job! Now I need to read the book!

    1. Thank you! Haha, you will make my friend happy! :D

  3. A fantastic drawing. Congratulations!

    1. Thanks! I need to keep on the track just not to lose the scarce progress I've done!

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you! It's been a long way until it's finished, but I'm happy with all the learning involved :)

    2. Looking forward to seeing what you do next..... :)


    3. Hehe, I don't even know myself! But whatever it is, I'll post it here, for sure :)

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you! Drawing is quite a relaxing activity for me. I wish I could devote some more time to it, still need to improve a lot!