When we initially conceived this new Mark Schultz Xenozoic book, Mark decided he wanted to color his cover art himself. What he ended up doing was hand coloring his art using watercolors on a separate board, and then doing a series of technical steps to make it all fit together.
To begin, the original brush and ink art was scanned into the computer. It was then printed out on clear acetate. This black and white art overlay was set over an art board and taped at the top edge allowing for easy lifting to view the board with or without the art guide.
Using the overlay as a guide for where the line art would reside, Mark flipped the acetate guide over and colored the art board underneath. He could easily set the art over the watercolors to make sure he colored the proper areas. When asking Mark more about the process, he provided me with the following additional details:
“I printed a 15% gray image of the blackline art on the board to be colored. This matches the acetate overlay image and is the guide I follow as I’m applying the color. When I flip down the acetate overlay, I can see what the color looks like together with the blackline, as it will appear when printed.”
Once the hand coloring was complete, the color art was scanned and placed underneath the brush art in Photoshop. Mark drew the cloud shapes in pure black using a brush, then this was scanned and the color adjusted on the computer, then added to the art digitally.
After the cover artwork was complete, Mark informed me that he was not quite satisfied with the cover design. He gave me a quick synopsis of what he wanted to do, then he and designer Randy Dahlk tweaked and adjusted the design to what you see above as the final cover for the book.
Xenozoic is currently at the printer. It will arrive in the stores around mid-November 2010.