We scanned the pencil art into the computer and Serban created a file with multiple layers. This was done so he could paint one part of the image without effecting the rest of it. You can see that there was a layer for each element of the pin-up, and each one had a temporary color to distinguish it from the others. This also allowed him to separate the line art on to its own layer, so that none of it would be lost in the coloring process (our normal coloring process works similarly to this).
In the background, Serban chose a fiery palette to set the tone. In the foreground, he started to establish the placement of light and shadow. For example, take a look at the Ogre in the lower right: the front of his body would be hit by light, and the back of his body would be in shadow. The hordes of monsters in the background however, would remain completely silhouetted.
This is where Serban jumped right in to the deep end of the process! He picked out colors for everything (except Milhouse himself) and started rendering in earnest. Note the multiple levels of rich shading added to the moons. And the red-hot highlight on the edge of the cliff helps tie in the fiery backdrop.
The rendering is just about finished--all that's left is Milhouse's axe. This image depicts the colors with the line art layer turned off, so we can see the vibrant colors on their own.
Serban puts down some line work to accentuate the details, and creates a layer of foggy mist which adds even more depth to the piece, and accentuates the eerie mood of the colors.
Behold! The finished product!
As a final touch, we dropped in the real world Milhouse (and Puppy Goo-Goo!), who were inked and colored in the usual manner. The juxtaposition of the two styles helps contrast Milhouse's fantasy life from his real life.
And that, my friends, is how we do it here in the House of Bongo. Thanks for reading, and we hope you enjoyed these looks at our creative process!
When Creative Director Nathan Kane saw the cover for Milhouse #1 coming together, he was excited to expand upon the idea of Milhouse's rich fantasy life as a savage barbarian, and decided we would create an action-packed pin-up for the back cover. I was given the assignment and a lot of freedom to come up with a fun idea...Nathan just wanted to make sure it was an exciting and dynamic image.