Feb 21, 2015, 1:00:34 PM
How It's Made: The Ferrywoman Page 1
New page of This Mortal Coil and the start of the next chapter, "The Ferrywoman." Below are the pencils and click to read more about the making of the page.
This was a pretty complex image to draw with so many characters in the frame. Laying it out wasn't difficult (as you'll see below with the storyboard). To draw it, I broke the sketch up into different layers, which is not something you can do with pencil and paper, but this way I could focus on each character. I started back to front with the Ferrywoman and her companion and worked my way to Kamiko and then Natsumi standing behind her. They're all standing in the middle of the woods so they'll be surrounded by the dark forest, but I decided they would be standing in the light and that there would be a path of white leading up to them from the bottom of the page to hopefully draw your eye there. There's an alternate dark path you can take which will lead you to something gruesome.
To combine the layers, I used layer masks on each character layer and masked out the parts that hide underneath (such as parts of the Ferrywoman's cloak). I like the approach and it works well for complex scenes like this.
The original storyboard for comparison. As you can see the oar is in the other hand. I didn't even bother to put in the other characters, since Kamiko and the Ferrywoman are most important. I like that Hana is the only one who notices the body by the tree, or rather the supernatural folks just kinda ignore it, and Natsumi...well, maybe she's in denial or has as a short attention span, but she doesn't dwell on it since there's something more amazing in front of her.
I saved the progress as I worked on this one. I really like how the final image turned out. I was contemplating making it more of an animated GIF, but I think I'll save the animation for some of the bigger stuff coming.
Kamiko enters the forest with Natsumi and Hana in tow. They are hiding behind her skirts. Natsumi is trying to be brave, but Kamiko can tell, because she knows herself, that she's scared too and it's just a front. The three of them approach the ferrywoman. She is a tall figure entirely dressed in black. Her clothing appears to be more like a mist that dissipates as we reach her feet. We can see no features of her, her face is hooded her hands aren't visible. She stands high over them and peers down at the trio as they enter the forest. To her side is the spirit of Tachibana. [As you can see The Ferrywoman has changed since the original text description. I'll go more into her design in another post.]
Natsumi sees Tachibana and she's overcome with excitement. Kamiko stands defiantly before the Ferrywoman. She knows that being here is wrong. She's not here to discuss that; she's here to resolve the wolf problem before it gets further out of hand. [We don't really get to see Natsumi being "overcome with excitement" but she is peeking over Kamiko's arm to see the green glowy guy.]
Hana sees the disemboweled corpse of Tachibana leaning against the tree. It's horrific to her but she can't turn away.
Kamiko has her hands posed on the hilt of her parasol sword. She's looking confident.
The wolf. He's the moon god?