This is the cover art for Pandemic by ASGeek2012on Fimfiction, as a gift of encouragement for the good work on this story. This was a work that actually went rather well and went faster than I originally expected. For this project, I decided to go with my more usual approach in painting and sculpting shapes out of the characters, with trying making a more detailed line drawing then what I usually do. Then, I apply darker colors behind the line art and then add the more normal coat colors as highlight with a hard brush and gradually use softer lower opacity one to better blend the gradients with each other. I used the Selections tool more extensively in the early stages to save on time too…
I first started drawing Twilight Sparkle and Starlight Glimmer, which came out rather well, despite the generally unpopularity with the fans for more ‘realistic’ look to them. I really tried to tone down on the muscles this time around and got with as softer finish to them. I had to redraw Starlight’s head, because I didn’t like showing her head in profile as it was then, which just felt really amateurish to me. I gave her a slightly more angular head to show that she is physically slightly more ‘mature’ look to her. For Twilight, I decided to give her a narrower muzzle to make her look slightly closer to how she looks like in the show. The only real issue that I had was her wings which I still have trouble drawing in a consistent manner and at the right angles. I feel that they both look good more dynamic in the pose and expression of confusion and weariness to better convey that they are treading lightly in a dangerous situation, adding to the mystery of the scene and the story itself. I would let you guess to who they are being most carefully to avoid attention to.
For Celestia, she came out much better then what I had hoped, and looks very impressive with her rearing up in threatening posture, which is not something that I normally do often with her. The pink coat was originally supposed just be part of the darker parts of a strong contrast of light and shadow. In reality, she has a pink near while coat, if you look at her hex code. But, after adding more contrast with the lighting, I felt it was better for Celestia to keep her pink coat with the intense yellow light beam coming from behind her.
Unlike those of Twilight’s, Celestia’s wings came out much better then what I expected, as almost all the feathers are evenly and well placed, adding to the realism to them.
Working on her regalia was interesting to me, because I really wanted to give it a gold finish to it, along the fun of doing the engraving in it. I still need a lot of work for that, but it helps me want to do more of that stuff in the near future.
Trying to give her ethereal mane was a bit of a difficulty to produce, as when I did my first attempt it looked more like a mass of bubblegum then anything foggy, I had to try out several other methods and filters to get a more satisfying result to make it look like it was glowing.
For the background, I had used a few short cuts that I normally don’t use, but I figured sense I was striving for realism and fidelity form the show’s style, which isn’t easy to find a compromise between the two. I used a background of the Canterlot background and added some gradient to make it look more three dimensional. I did the same thing for the Earth, using a wallpaper with no boarders in it warped it to give it a more spherical shape, and superimpose it on a pre-rendered sphere to add the effect of a planet.
The silhouette of the pony above the Earth was fun to do, and I had to be very careful not to let the viewer’s realize to easily who it actually is, it’s not already too obvious given the shape. Still to make sure it can at least be better notice from the starry background, I added a little backlighting behind it.
The author specifically asked me to put a biohazard symbol in the image, and rather than just fling it in the background as is, I decided to have some fun with it. I used the symbol as part a triptych out of the three main elements, which are Celestia, Twilight and Starlight Glimmer and finally the Earth, and repositioned them within the three circles, to help better guide the reading of the image of the cover art and help create a sense of harmony with the image. Incidentally the Earth certainly stand out a lot more than it did before, and I am all the more happy about the results, which didn’t stick out from the background like a sore thumb as it did before.
The biohazard symbol is just a regular image that I picked up from the Internet and added a FX’s and Layer Style to give it its transparent glowing effect.
The Canterlot City base in the background was used from here: www.deviantart.com/art/Colorfu…
The base biohazard symbol came from here;
And the world map came from here: wallpapercave.com/wp/Dq6o3uI.j…