In The Family Starr we want the player to go on an adventure through a rich and varied world. I'm naturally drawn to wild locations with lots of personality, and love to draw plants and woodland. I wanted to get a recurring image I had in my mind down on paper, a figure standing in a deep mossy gorge, so I created this piece over a couple of days.
My process for creating these very early pre-production images is quite traditional. I draw in 2B pencil on Strathmore bristol board, which is a heavy weight paper, almost like a card, that has been cold pressed to give it a very smooth surface. I am able to make lots of alterations and repeatedly rub out elements without damaging the paper. I work on the layout sketch in pencil until I have something that I am happy with. This layout sketch is based on a series of smaller thumbnails (not shown here), which efficiently help to choose a composition.
From there I work over the top of the pencil with a pen and ink and a brush. I use a Speedball B5 1/2 pen, and a smaller crow-quill pen though less frequently. I find I can get all the line variation I want from the Speedball. I also use a sable no 5 brush to block in the blacks and do any spot blacks, though I tend to keep these to a minimum.
After I've inked directly on top of the pencils, I let the work dry thoroughly, before erasing all of the pencil work leaving the sheer ink-work behind. For this image I used Parker Quink, which I wanted to experiment with. It's a writing ink rather than a drawing ink, and I think it wasn't so great all things considered. A conventional indian ink performs better with this kind of work. After all the pencil is erased I do any corrections and white out anything that I feel doesn't work using an opaque white gouache, thickly applied for maximum coverage.
The image is coloured in Photoshop, with the line selected and isolated on its own layer to enable me to manipulate line colour. Finally I add more texture to the image with some hand made textures, using black graphite powder rubbed into some scrap cartridge paper. A few more final adjustments and it's done.