A Song of @AnnaLandin and Blog Headers

As you can see, there’s a new look here at Di Verbs Things. Like the header image at my main blog, it was created by the talented Anna Landin. What follows is her tale of the creation. The previous link leads to her tumblr.

Hi! Di asked me to do a little write-up of the process behind the shiny new header, so here we go.

She had a pretty clear image in mind to begin with—which is immensely helpful when asking an artist to draw something for you. If you can say “I want x on the left side, and y on the right side, and if you could fit z in there, that would be great” is so much easier to work with than “can you draw x?”. In this case, she wanted a bunch of books and a tv on the left, the title of her blog in the middle, and Daenerys and Jon Snow on the right.

So this is my first layout sketch. This is the messy, barely-readable scribble that starts off any picture I do, except usually, I’m the only one who sees it—it is, as I said, barely readable (what is Jon’s hand doing over there? Are those bricks or books?). But it helps me figure out the general layout of a picture, and how much I can fit into it without it getting too busy. This was the point at which I realised that Ghost would not be able to fit into the header—Di had asked me to fit him in if I could find the space—so I had to figure out something else there.

Clean-up sketch! Sorting the bricks from the books, giving the characters actual expressions, etc. This is also where I really had to break out the reference pictures—Di asked for Dany and Jon to look like their actors in the tv-series, instead of my own interpretation of them, so I went hunting for screenshots and promo-photos. I got a whole bunch and stared at them very, very closely right here, because I have a weird sort of partial face-blindness going on—where I can remember individual features, like noses, or eyebrows, or chins—but have trouble remembering them as a coherent whole (… have I told you I’m a comic artist, who draws the same faces multiple times per page? Hahaha yeah… fun times).

So yes—this is where Dany goes from >:( to having an actual expression, and Jon got himself a hand and a swordhilt and everything. I worked Ghost’s head in as part of the swordhilt, so I could include him without having to draw a whole direwolf.

And this is the coloured sketch, picking out a general colour-scheme and blocking out shadows and such. I picked a pale blue/sandy yellow for the background behind the characters—sand for Dany and her setting, pale blue for the snow of Jon’s storyline—and contrasted it with darker, more saturated shades on the left.

…and after I got the okay from Di on this, all that was left was cleaning up the lines a bit more and polishing the colours, adding some heavier shadows and such. And the result is as you can see here—with actual typed font for the blog-title, instead of my terrible handwriting.

This was a lot of fun to work on—portraits are, for obvious reasons, a challenge for me—and as I got to livestream the finishing of it, that made it twice as fun. :)

Anna.

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