The Process: Creating a Cover Painting (Part 2)

Part the second, which goes after part the first. If you haven't read the first part, go here to get an idea of the steps taken to reach this point.

At this stage, with the sky box and distant background elements close to completion, all work shifted to adding details to the foreground structures.

Stage 7

Detail work for the bridge was a multi-step process where architectural elements are approximated. Brighter colors were added to the foreground structure as a base. The pink/flesh band there? It eventually is muddied with browns and grays before I'm done.

Stage 8

There are a lot of tiny details that needed to be sorted out in the middle ground of the painting. While there is a distinct Impressionist vibe to the style, I did want there to be clearly-recognizable elements.

As such, a lot of time was spent with smaller brushes layering in darker hues to clearly separate the buildings.

While it's not as noticeable in the photograph, a number of the lit windows are actually drawn in with a metallic pen so that they have a strangely reflective quality to them.

Stage 9

Here I began to fill in the colors for the foreground. The inclusion of greens, creams and brighter grays is intended to pull this part of the scenery forward. As you can see by the second photo, I use a multi-week prescription caddy to house some of my old paint.

Detail (Before and After)

Once the details were at a place I feel worked, I used a mouth atomizer and paint to add in a mist of color. At times, like the left-hand picture, this was intended to add a foggy element to the scene. On the right, it lended a more subtle sun glare effect to the surrounding structures.

Stage 10(ish)

At this stage, most of what's left was detail work on the main character and foreground structures. 99% of the background is locked in with only minor touch-ups done to remove any remaining white space.


The grassy portion of the courtyard is one of the few spots where the color palette deviates from the blue/brown/black. Here I layered in darker greens first and then topped those with tans, yellows and eventually white highlights.

Near the end

With just about everything else near a final stage, the rest of my focus went to the main character and the wrought iron railing. After this point, most of what's done is some muddying of the surrounding background to force a sense of perspective and some fine detail work on his cloak and weapon.

I won't show the final illustration as of yet. Or at least not until I'm closer to the pre-release promotion for this particular book (some time in 2019 hopefully).