Inquisitor Abnett – 8.5×11 Ink on Illustration Board, Colors in Photoshop CS4
‘Whoops’ he exclaimed as the firebombs purged the surface of Vistruvas VII…
This was the second project for my current Illustration course run by Deanna Staffo. It was an open ended author portrait piece, no size determination, no medium requirements. The only restriction was that it had to be an author of some kind or another. Likeness work and concept sketches were due the week after the assignment and after those were reviewed the final piece was due for critique.
I got to work straight away after little deliberation in my mind. I decided upon Dan Abnett, a favorite author from his work with the Warhammer 40,000 universe, namely my favorite series from that universe The Eisenhorn Trilogy. I knew in my minds eye that he had a unique enough profile and that his features would be easy enough to pick up to make the piece actually have a likeness.
I spent a lot of time in my sketch book breaking down the features that I could accentuate to create a good likeness. Another reason for all of the sketch work was my own misgivings on how to approach the final piece and in what medium. Eventually I settled my nerves by deciding to go in a comic styling (Abnett also writes for comic books) with hand drawn inks and photoshop colors.
The inks went smoothly and after a quick scan that I was thankfully able to do here at home, I was off and running in Photoshop. The color palette I lifted from another Warhammer 40,000 personality, John Blanche. Going with the stylized comic book feel I kept areas flat and only added detail as needed.
In terms of concept, I tried to place him within the Warhammer 40,000 universe by adding small things like service studs to his forehead and placing him in armor and a setting that could speak to the violent Gothic overtones from the game and background.
A trip to the school print lab later I had a very finished looking piece to present for a critique that many said that they could only really nitpick on small things about the final portrait. In my book if people are nitpicking about minor details, you’ve succeeded.
If you haven’t heard of Dan Abnett, or read any of his work, you should give his writing a look. It’s very dynamic and reads fluidly, as if you’re watching an action movie in some instances.