again, i started with some thumbnails. given the subject matter, and the heavy deadline, there wasn't much room to take advantage of different styles. right away i figured it would have an 'archie comics' kind of vibe/composition with a 'james flames' illustration style. i offered to try different styles for thumnails if they (the publishers) wanted, but they were happy with these and ultimately chose the second one. personally, my choice would have been the first one - 'physical grafitti' - i thought that was the strongest and most original idea. but i can't disagree with the immediate impact of the chosen sketch.
so, on to pencils. i started sketching on usual 14x17 bristol, and ran out of room really quickly. so i did a quick ink-up with markers to feel out my darks and line-weights, then i traced it onto a 19x24 sheet and filled in the hands and everything else. at first, the pie 'splatt' was a part of the drawing, and there was no face in the middle, but i had a hard time conveying the fact that what was behind the muck of the pie was a head. so i decided to just draw the face (dean martin?) and add the pie splatt later - i drew that part on tracing paper and scanned it separately.
the inks were done straight on those pencils - no time for another lightbox job. all #3 brush with "black star" ink (maybe some marker for touchups, but i don't remember any). the inks were scanned as three separate pieces - the three comedians, the clapping hands, and the pie splatt. in the above mock-up, i wanted to test how the pie 'splatt' experiment was going to work, allowing enough of the face to show through the pie that you get the expression and impact.
then, onto some photoshop coloring. i keep referring to what you told me, tom, when those folks saw your color work and commented how the colors don't match the ink style. i wanted some effects, but i didn't want to go overboard. i finally decided on a color scheme (i had none all the way through to this stage) - greens and yellows on purple. i wound up putting a little transparency and blur on the guy in the back to set him further away, and i darkened the audience clapping hands, since there aren't usually lights on the audience, and also i knew the text would have to go there, and i didn't want the graphics to compete with the words. at the very last minute (literally 3am on the day we sent it in to press) they decided on the captions and i settled on a font and style. whew! talk about down to the wire. next month we're thinking of doing a little collaboration piece - incorporating photo and illustration into one (hopefully) seemless design. fun!