I’d made a couple of little test fragments, but I felt it was time to do a real test image for The Drowning City.
As I did this, I tried to codify what I was doing into a handful of styles. For Rita, I’d just do flat colors and the occasional brush, but this has a lot of settings going on – pretty much everything listed in this palette does the equivalent of poking at three or four other palettes to choose a color, maybe a gradient, maybe an art brush, and add some effects to it. Much easier to just do it once and save it.
As I work on the comic, this will probably expand – I’ll have a few styles for various bits of each character, maybe stick some details into art brushes like I did on Rita, and in general use a lot of Illustrator tricks to let me do complex imagery without much work.
(Come to think of it, doing a couple more drawings of some of the other main characters might be a good way to refine this toolkit, and add more bits I may need.)
Edit. Worked on the styles for a little longer; took out a lot of use of ‘roughen’, gave the shading styles a bit of an extra halo, and refined the art brushes. It is still messy and organic but it was a little too messy before.