The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab have once again teamed up with Newberry Award winning author Neil Gaiman to offer some amazing items at this year's San Diego Comic Con (July 23-26, 2009).
These offerings are a charitable, not-for-profit venture: proceeds of various exclusive, limited, or signed items will go to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, which works to preserve the First Amendment rights of the comic community.
I had the honor of painting the exclusive, Comic Con-only version of The Fool from Neil Gaiman's Fifteen Painted Cards From a Vampire Tarot. Each package comes with a 5ml bottle of perfume inspired by the tale and a corresponding tarot card. There's also a fair chance that my sets will be signed by Neil himself! This set is the only BPAL offering at Comic Con, outside of the Strangers in Paradise set, that will not be available online afterward.
I decided to give a little inside look at the process this painting went through, from thumbnail concept sketches all the way to the finished tarot card design. (I have placed copyright watermarks on these images and made them low-resolution; do not reproduce or use these in any way.)
1. One of three initial thumbnail sketches:
2. The thumbnail sketch was translated into a larger ink drawing on 9x12 smooth bristol.
3. A single layer of watercolor and colored pencils was laid down. This was one of three layers that were built on top of each other.
4. The paintbrushes came out, and the watercolor pencil base was smoothed out before adding in tiny details, textures, and shadows with acrylics.
5. The art was scanned along with a sheet of parchment that had been splattered with coffee. The latter would become the background of the tarot card after some hue/saturation changes had been made to it. And there you have it! The finished tarot card design!
I chose to capture our naive hero at the height of his foolishness, once again visiting the graveyard, but this time stepping close enough to the ledge to tempt fate. He wants to be a vampire, to have eternal life, but the raspy voice he hears in the night only laughs at him, for he does not understand what he is wishing for.
For more information about the CBLDF and this year's rocking offerings at Comic Con:
CBLDF Offers Neil Gaiman Exclusives at Comic Con
CBLDF Teams with BPAL for Gaiman Offerings at SDCC!
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Releases Limited Edition Scents Based on the Works of Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer, to Benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
CBLDF's Biggest Comic-Con Ever at Booth 1920