Beyond The Black Gate Art

Here is a short, step-by-step of how I produced a full page illustration for Goodman’s adventure, Beyond the Black Gate.
The original art is drawn on 14×17 inch Bristol and reproduces down to around 8.5×11 inches.
You can learn about the adventure here:
I start off with a pencil drawing which is pretty rough. The client usually sends a description with things that he specifically wants in the image; in this case, adventurers investigating mummies with terrified/frozen looks on their faces, a brazier that burns with an icy, swirling misty tentacled fog and a huge egg on a fur on an altar made of a big block of ice (if I remember right). I drew my usual freakish-looking adventurers with goggling eyes and WTF expressions. (click any image to enlarge).  In this case, I wanted to leave a space at the top for text, etc., and told the client I would make that part a solid black.
After the client has had a chance to see it and make any necessary changes, I go in with ink, using a combination of old fashioned ‘dip’ pens with india ink, brushes and rapidiograph and similar pens for finer lines.  During inking I sometimes go back in with ‘china white’ (opaque white paint) to put white marks in over black and get good crosshatching effects, but I don’t think I did that here.
Below is the art as it reproduced in the final publication (you can see the copy up top).

7 Comments on “Beyond The Black Gate Art”

  1. christian says:

    Well done, sir. 🙂

  2. Jeremy Deram says:

    That's cool. I always just try to draw in pen and maybe that's why I suck. One of the reasons at least…

  3. Awesome!
    Thanks for sharing the step by step!

  4. Interesting to see how you do your illustrations. Do you use Sakura pens at all? Also, do you usually scan your art and keep the original piece, or send it to the buyer?

  5. Stephan Poag says:

    I don't know what Sakura pens are, so I guess that would be a 'no.' I usually just sell the rights to the image and send a scan. Sometimes I sell the drawing/painting as 'artwork' (you can hang it on the wall). I used to use an etsy shop for this but haven't taken the time to do it in months.

  6. Sorry I wasn't very clear. Sakura is a brand of pens like rapidiographs, but they're throw away. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  7. Stephan Poag says:

    Oh, I'm always happy to talk tools; some of the best advice I've gotten has involved stray reccomendations as to 'have you tried this or that?' I have used some 'manga' markers (don't remember the make) and I really liked them; the only draw back is that they were not waterfast and if I wanted to go in afterwards with the china white to put in highlights or make changes, the manga markers would bleed or muddy the whites. I really like the markers for 'doodling' in one of my notebooks but they don't last very long. One of them has a flexible tip that varies the thickness of line with hand pressure, so it's almost like a brush (except less mess! And I can do a longer stroke before having to dip into the ink pot again!).

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