Thu
Sep 25 2008 1:53pm
Todd Lockwood’s Stormcaller, from sketch to finish

Todd Lockwood Stormcaller

StormcallerLou Anders’ blog, Bowing to the Future, reminded me of this powerful Todd Lockwood painting for Tom Lloyd’s The Stormcaller. (The Stormcaller is due out from Pyr Books in October—they are currently featuring an extended excerpt on their sample chapters blog.)

I asked Todd and Lou if they would share their process with us, they were both very generous with their time and gave us an in-depth step-by-step.

From Lou Anders:

I’ve been wanting to work with Todd for a long time now, being a big admirer of his work but not having the right project. When Tom Lloyd’s The Stormcaller came across my desk, with its intense battle sequences and grim and gritty action, I knew I’d been afforded the perfect opportunity, but the cover surpassed even my expectations. It captures so many elements of the book perfectly, drawing the reader in while spoiling nothing. Well, okay, you know there’s going to be a dragon in the book—but what a dragon!

From Todd Lockwood:

The sketches were done quickly in Painter in grayscale, then colored up a bit in Photoshop. The first five Lou and I discussed, then I pulled the best elements of all of them into the sixth (below) sketch, trying to bear in mind the needs of front cover, back cover, and the entire composition.

Todd Lockwood Stormcaller

Composite sketch:

Todd Lockwood Stormcaller

I ghosted the sketch back on a separate layer in Painter as a guide to the placement of the basic elements and started the drawing. This was one of the rare pieces in which I didn’t use models:

Todd Lockwood Stormcaller

An underpainting was generated using transparent digital media. At this point my main focus is on developing and preserving the warm/cool, dark/light relationships from the sketch:

Todd Lockwood Stormcaller

Then areas were detailed, as the whole received adjustment glazes and spot color. Working digitally, I like to work the same way I paint in oils, using transparent media for shadows and vibrant color areas, then building highlights up with opaque pigment. In Painter, those ideas still have merit, which is one of the things I love about Painter:

Todd Lockwood Stormcaller

The final. Also a variant I created for prints in which I rotated the whole thing, in order to put the dragon and main character in the “sweet spot,” get rid of the too-horizontal orientation of the top of “the pile,” and added another figure to fill a resulting hole:

Todd Lockwood Stormcaller

Some details:

Todd Lockwood Stormcaller

8 comments
Eric Braddock
1. EricBraddock
Wow. Absolutely amazing. I LOVE posts like these, they're so interesting and seriously can't get enough of them. Todd's work is so beautiful and it's so great to see this much process work! Usually you get to see the thumbnail, the sketch and then the finish. This post is so jam packed with process, thanks for sharing! And congrats to Todd for yet another fantastic piece.
critter42
2. critter42
I'd love to see the lead image as a wallpaper :)
Blue Tyson
3. BlueTyson
Almost looks like he was a Rom Space Knight fan.
Tara Chang
4. tlchang
I'm certainly reveling in dragon scales and armour plating... Mmmmmm....
Ray Lederer
6. rlederer
Awww yeah! I love the diaphanous wing-trons. Thanks for posting and thanks Todd for the insight on your process. Much appreciated. -Ray
critter42
7. marceloilustrador
Thankssss Irene for the post....is very ,very amazing see the step by step of this masterpiece of Todd Lookwood,and thanksssss to Todd....
Saludos desde Argentina!!!!!!(Cheers from Argentina!!!!!!)
critter42
8. ARTRIAD
Excellent work and very generous of you for showing us your working method.

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