A Year of Kid's Books #4 (Back Cover process w/ pics.)

Because I was transitioning back to ink and wash for the Pinky Panda books after the last two weeks of coloring digitally, I did the back cover of the current book in watercolor. Kind of a warm up, I guess. 

 Here is the sketch I did based on a Calvin and Hobbes reference (most of the book used Watterson poses as references.)

Here is the sketch I did based on a Calvin and Hobbes reference (most of the book used Watterson poses as references.)

I sketched this with my Pentel Graphgear 1000 with HB lead on Canson XL watercolor paper.  I am not a fan of this paper, having used better stuff, but I bought it back when I had even less of an idea of what I was doing than I do now, and it was very useful for learning.

(I’m not putting links to these products because I am not advertising for them. But it did take me about a year to find what tools work best for me, and I read about a million reviews and posts before I landed on these tools. If things get really slow progress-wise then I may do a more elaborate post on the tools, but I’d rather focus on creating since that is my goal. You can google any of the items I mentioned and find a hundred reviews.)

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Here is the third phase. I forgot to get a shot of just the inking because I was in a hurry and focused. I started using my Pentel pocket brush pen (which is amazing, and so is the graphgear pencil), but the brush was having a tough time moving along the paper and inking uniformly. That is because the paper is cold press and has a rough texture. So I fell back on my micron fine liner and prayed the nib wouldn't bend before I got all the work I needed to finish done. It went fine. Hooray!

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Still not quite done, but nearly there. Only so much to do with a piece this cartoony before the style breaks down. (In my humble and untrained opinion.)  I wasn't sure what else to add or if I should add anything at all at this point, but after I let it set for a few hours and played with my daughters, I got about half an hour to fiddle around with a twitch stream set up and realized that the painting probably could use a bit more color and shadow in a few spots to bring it to life.

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So here it is. I don't think I'll do anything else to it or I may make it worse instead of improving it. I seriously believe that too much detail in a picture like this will kill the charm. 

Update:

I did not alter it anymore. I just taped it down, snapped a picture of it, and then adjusted a few things in Affinity Photo to get it ready to go on the back of the book. After I get a verification from my editor (who happens to be my wife), then I'll get this bad boy ordered and dive back in to the series of Pinky Panda Bear books. 

Second update:

Tina said it was good to go. The book is on the way and I am back in Pinky Panda Bear business.