Taken out of context, that title sounds disgusting.
What it really means, is that I did an endless amount of thumb nails for this piece. These are just a few pages of them. It's worth it in the end, but sometimes........sometimes.....
I had quite the struggle coming up with an idea I liked. I obsessed over it for a couple of days. Still nothing. Obsessed a few more days, and yet, still nothing. Cried in the corner of the shower, drank several bottles of hard liquor, and punched myself in the face once or twice. Still nothing.
The problem I was having, was coming up with something unique. All of the old pictures seemed to be of the same scene in the book, or the "Frazetta" pose. Not that there is anything wrong with any of those. I just wanted to do something different.
Then, just as I'm about to give up......VOILA'! An idea that I was kind of excited about.
The general concept that got me to this point was tying together the idea that Carter was a soldier on both Earth and Mars. I wanted the silhouette to be one person. Yet the two sides are different (obviously).
I made the gap for the sword larger. I wanted to make it obvious that it was supposed to be "split", not just bad drawing.
After I have the reference done, and the details worked out I wanted a pretty tight drawing. I have to draw everything out to understand it. Then I go back in and block out the unnecessary stuff. I love paintings that looks so detailed that it is nearly realistic; yet when you look closely, it's just some pockets of detail. Your mind is filling in the rest.
Working out the values.
I usually work out the image in grayscale, then add color. I learned that from watching a Jon Foster demo at Illustration Academy. I can't say that it was my idea. I've kind of changed the overall process, but the idea is the same. It allows you to sneak up on the color instead of being overwhelmed by it. You can also experiment more and possibly find something that you wouldn't have thought of.
Tighten up the painting. Adding the "painter" flourishes.
Just about done. I made some color adjustments. It was a little too cold. I also added the original pencil drawing to the top of the painting. I lowered the opacity and erased alot of it. I left just enough to add some interest, and texture. If you look closely at the large image in the gallery, you can see it in the shadow areas.