The Last Viking Returns is the sequel to The Last Viking (2011) and is once again illustrated by me and written by Norman Jorgensen. It’s being released in September 2014 by Fremantle Press!
Here’s a timelapse of me painting a page from The Last Viking Returns.
This page features Odin and his ravens, as well as Freya (the goddess of love and beauty), Sigurd (blacksmith to the gods), and Thor (no introduction needed).
All the illustrations in the book (including this one) were drawn with pencil, then scanned and coloured digitally using a Wacom Intuos3 graphics tablet and Photoshop CS3/Corel Painter X3.
The footage was captured using Screenium. The colouring process took 4 hours in real time.
I started off doing all the shading in light brown, just as I did for all the internal pages. This helps me see from the start where the light sources will be. (For those digitally minded, the light brown layers are actually a dark brown colour, but set to 40% opacity. As I’m using Corel Painter, I’ve set the layer mode to Gel rather than the standard Photoshop choice of Multiply- Gel seems to let the colours interact the way they would do if they were watercolour paint. I’ve found it produces richer colours).
Here’s the brown tones (what I’ve called the ‘sepia layer’) half done.
And the sepia layer completed. If I can see a sense of depth in the picture at this stage, then I know that it’s all going to look okay once the colours are completed.
Next up was the background colours. The sky and cloud tones are very important as they contribute greatly to the effect of light.
I’m in the midst of colouring. It’s going well, but I’m realising that there’s a lot more too it than just filling in the spaces between the lines… the colour contributes to the mood in just the same way that facial expressions, body language, point of view and composition do. Why do people make picture books?? I’m loving it, but the more I go the more I find how complicated the process can be.
Continuing on from last week, here’s how I’ve been colouring a scene.
I start off with the pencil lines:
Now I do a bit of planning. Where will the light source be? What time of day will it be? This little panel is part of a series where the backgrounds all join up. The sky will change from overcast in the left hand panel to stormy in the right hand panel. When it’s overcast the sunlight is diffused through the clouds and the light source seems to be coming from everywhere at the same time… shadows on the ground become lighter and softer. I’ve tried to do this with the panel on the left below, but it’s very hard to paint. It’s easier to define the objects in your scene if you have one clearly defined light source (see the panel on the right).
I do these colour tests in Photoshop because it’s very quick and easy to do so. The colour test is very important for me, because it gives me a plan. I’ve decided where I want the shadows to fall, I know what colours things will be (roughly), and I know that adjacent colours complement each other (or clash, if that’s what needed).