SFera book cover

Recently I got a proposal to make a cover for a book that SFera, croatian SF & fantasy society, publishes yearly. It was the kind of job I was really happy to do.
After hearing the theme (and probable title of the book) I figured it won't be that easy to think of a proper concept... 13th circle of abyss.
Here's how I did it.

For the first several days I mostly did just thinking and drawing tiny thumbnails in my sketchbook.
thumbnail sketches

I had a general idea: some kind of vertical tunnel, a protagonist who is in great peril, and some mysterious creatures lurking about.
After some more thinking and sketching, I ended up with a person falling down through disappearing stairs.
sketches

Of course, this is not the kind of sketch you can send to the editor. So I made a cleaner (not too detailed) sketch, and a roughly colored version.
sketchcolored sketch

The sketch was approved, so I met with my friend Maja for a photo shoot. After digging through her closet, we managed to find something that won't stand out too much. I thought there's no need for historical or futuristic styling.
I kept some 15 photos that were usable, but in the end only 2 or 3 were really good.
model photos

For a while I thought I would paint the stairs, but it just didn't work. I didn't have any decent photos of my own, so I bought a really good one from iStockphoto.
stairs stock

When I was ready to begin, I set up the file to the specified size, drew the guidelines to help me place key elements correctly, and started working on the actual manipulation.
work in progress

Some elements of this work were photographic (girl, stairs, wall texture), and others were painted (girl's ponytail, mouth, creatures in the background).
And here's the finished work.
final work

Here are some details at 50% size:
details


Comments

Aelyn

wow, that is amazing. i like the way you let it go step by step instead of showing the finished art piece. It gives an interesting insight to how you work. The end result is by no doubt amazing.

I like what the stick figure says on the first sketch when he's falling =D

nelchee

thank you! I thought some people would like to see the process, so I'll have more WIP work here. and it's also interesting for me to examine it... because often I get stuck in the middle of the work, and it looks so far from what I imagined - but seeing that I pulled it off in the end is encouraging.

hehe, yeah when I drew the D: face I just HAD to write it XD

Joy

I was just dropping by from inObscuro and I saw the link to here. I love this idea of a sketchblog (and I've never heard of it before). And as Aelyn said, it's really interesting to see the process. I'm constantly amazed at your motivation to draw and your love for art. It's what I need a little more of.

Love the art, and I would love to see the final product! :)

nelchee

thank you, Joy :)
My motivation is great because I want to do this for living. I realized this is the only thing I can see myself never getting tired of.

niksy

Hehe, super ti je ovo. Ja nikako ne bih mogao pokazati proces izrade nekog svog rada jer je to sve razbacano, svako malo mi padne neka druga ideja i onda brisi staro, modificiraj ovo, pa ono... Ljudi bi se pogubili :))).

I da, i ja prvi put cujem za sketchblogove, pa eto imas komplimente za ovaj poseban projekt ;)....

nelchee

hvala, niksy ;)
da, to je čest slučaj i kod mene, ali naravno zato je objavljujem svaki proces, nego samo onaj koji je bio konzistentan :)

sketchblogova ima podosta (samo googlaj tu riječ :)), među našima nije toliko rasprostranjeno, ali ima par strip-crtača na blogspotu.

Flaki

Well, I love your work, i recently started (again) doing some drawings and was looking for sketchblogs to learn and to see others' works. Your sketches (especially the anatomy related) are cool, so way to go!\\r\\n\\r\\nAbout this cover: the initial "not too detailed, colored" sketch worked for me the best. When I saw the final picture, I was like "what? that's all?". It's too empty for me, but the sketched version with it's gargoyles and such, gives a dark, frightning impression. At least, for me.\\r\\n\\r\\nKeep up the hard work!\\r\\nCompliments: Flaki