I was assigned the short story "I made a Friend" by (NYT Bestseller) Philip Athans which, at the moment, can be read for free HERE! Really enjoyed it, and it's likely to be the first in a line of steampunk-themed tales I'll be working on. After reading I doodled down some ideas & compositions, trying to keep in mind how they could look if ever used for the magazine's cover.
First ideas usually turn out to be the best, this one was no exception, even though I felt quite fond of them all. Never before that day had I drawn anything remotely robot, so a massive thanks to Jonathan Jacobs for seeing a style potential in my work.
#1 - Having never encountered anything comprised of odd shapes before, shapes is exactly how I broke it down to a manageable creation! Blocked in the basics and headed over to CGtextures.com to lay down the main areas.
#2 - Used a clipping mask for each shape section & moved the texture around to show its best bits. Another clipping mask over that set to 'soft light' for the shadows, which instantly improved the structure and became the rinse & repeat for the rest of the image!
#3 - Masked out parts of industrial textures to find crude embellishments for him and rendered a corpse-like pose in DAZ Studio. Gets the job done. I'd like to point out at this stage he was imported as a default, half naked figure, so it was back to clipping masks and textures to fix him up some suitable clothing.
#4 - More 'soft light' layers to keep building shadows and sourcing some passable-quality, period kitchen utensils.
#5 - If anyone knows a way to totally mask out a black background from a translucent object, do tell me now! Thankfully for the tone of this image it wasn't a massive problem, CS5 managed most of the work, clever little thing. I figured the robot would huff & puff somewhat when angry/stressed due to high steam pressure. Naturally. Tweaked some layers to better fit the background objects. Think I toyed with a warming (photo) filter at this stage too.
#6 - While I could have added a border at stage #5 and called it finished, it didn't have quite the same 'ambience' as the simple starting doodle. SO, slapped down 2 more 'soft light' layers, one filled totally with an almost-black, the other with a warm cream. Added a mask to both of these and erased away at the dark layer for a slightly vignetted look.
Any fans of fantasy/steampunk/RPG, or self-publishing enthusiasts, please do check out Nevermet Press and 'Stories in the Ether' which contains a great collection of shorts. If you'd like these magz on your e-reader details can be found HERE! Stay tuned!