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UY Book 32 Cover step-by-step

A look inside the art by Stan Sakai

UY Book 32 Cover step-by-step

Postby Steve Hubbell » Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:16 +0000

Stan Sakai (on Facebook) wrote:August 11, 2017

Usagi Yojimbo Book 31: The Hell Screen just came out a few weeks ago, and the cover for 32 is already due. Here is a look at the process.

Ink and watercolor on Strathmore illustration board.

Another Inspector Ishida themed book. I've tentatively titled it "UY: Mysteries". This is the first rough.

The roughs were done in a 5.25x8.25 inch moleskin sketchbook.

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I like this rough composition, but thought it was too different that the other covers in the series. I will probably do this as the tip-in art for the hardcover.

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This is the one I went with. This is a scene from UY #163: Mouse Trap part 1.

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I roughed out the art on illustration board. The first time I used this in a long while. I prefer 5-ply Bristol, but Strathmore discontinued it. After using the illustration board, I still prefer the Bristol.

The size of the board is 11x15 inches. Penciled with a .5 mm H mechanical pencil.

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Detailed pencils, using a .5 mm B mechanical pencil. I also determined the vanishing point for perspective.

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Inked with a Koh-i-noor Art Pen using Platinum Carbon Ink, the first time I used this ink with watercolors.

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Erased with Sumo black eraser.

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I masked off the art and laid in the background color. I knew this would take place at night, but had to make the area around Usagi and Nezumi lighter as they both wear dark colors and needed them to stand out. I chose to put a cloud form behind them.

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I removed the mask from the roof tops.

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Working on the roofs with watercolors.

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Removed the masks from the figures.

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There are two ways to mask. There is a liquid frisket that you paint on and rub off, and a sheet frisket that you cut with an Xacto knife. I prefer the sheets. In my case, I use tracing paper and rubber cement. I posted a couple of tutorial on this on FB. I'll do it again when I do another cover.


Working on Usagi. I made him lit from the bottom to add drama to the moment

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Working on both figures.

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Still working on the figures and the roof.

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It seemed too cold, so added some warmer colors on the figures.

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Almost there.

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Stripped off the borders, and done.

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Steve Hubbell
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Re: UY Book 32 Cover step-by-step

Postby Rustyblade » Sat Aug 12, 2017 14:48 +0000

Man this cover looks amazing and seeing the process and explanation makes it even more impressive.
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Re: UY Book 32 Cover step-by-step

Postby Warren » Sun Sep 10, 2017 17:33 +0000

Excellent as always. :) Very atmospheric.

Inked with a Koh-i-noor Art Pen using Platinum Carbon Ink, the first time I used this ink with watercolors.


Ah! That's interesting. Not the first time overall?

I read what Stan had to say about old FW and then Badger Black ink disappearing, way back when, and I'm sorry I missed them. (Along with the Koh-I-Noor art pen; but sorrier that Stan would miss them!) Looking things up, Platinum Carbon seemed the next best thing - a waterproof pigmented ink suitable for fountain pens... with care. I'd be interested to know what the verdict is.
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