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Creating the cover art for Usagi Yojimbo: Legends

A look inside the art by Stan Sakai

Creating the cover art for Usagi Yojimbo: Legends

Postby Steve Hubbell » Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:05 +0000

Stan Sakai (on Facebook) wrote:
I turned in the cover art for Usagi Yojimbo: Legends. The book will be in the same format as the Saga books--three trades collected into one big omnibus. Whereas the Saga books have been reprinting the ongoing Usagi stories, Legends will print stand along Usagi projects--Yokai, a watercolored original full color graphic novel; Senso, a mini-series that takes place many years after the current Usagi timeline and; Space Usagi, that takes place many generations after.

I also took a different approach to the art. A Saga cover depicted a single scene but, because the Legends stories cover a wide range from ghosts to science fantasy, I chose to include elements from all the stories.

On 4-ply 500 series cold press Strathmore bristol.

Very rough pencils. I am just working with shapes and ideas here. I used a 0.3 mm 2H mechanical pencil.

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My ideas are getting more solidified.

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Finished pencils using a 0.5 HB mechanical pencil.

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Inked with a Koh-i-noor Art Pen, which was discontinued many years ago. The ink I used is a mixture of a number of inks, because my preferred brand had changed their formula.

I changed the fox fire at the top from just a head to its entire body. Note that the top fifth of the art will be trimmed off for the trade collection to accommodate a title banner. This is done for all the Saga books as well.

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I masked off the figures, using a homemade frisket.

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The background was painted with watercolors and a 1 inch flat brush.

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The mask was peeled off.

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Working throughout the art, using watercolors.

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The fox was one of the last things I worked on, and used white watercolor to add a glow around it. I took some of the background color and darkened the area around Usagi to make him pop out a bit more.

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* (I moved the image of the finished art from the beginning of the post to the end - Steve)
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Re: Creating the cover art for Usagi Yojimbo: Legends

Postby go » Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:16 +0000

Thank you very much for this amazing post.
I wonder about how to make a homemade frisket.
Does our Sensei use rubber cement and tracing paper?
Best wishes to all!
go
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Re: Creating the cover art for Usagi Yojimbo: Legends

Postby Stan Sakai » Thu Sep 29, 2016 11:09 +0000

go wrote:I wonder about how to make a homemade frisket.
Does our Sensei use rubber cement and tracing paper?
Best wishes to all!
go


Yes, I did. I showed the frisket process on a couple of other FB posts.
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Re: Creating the cover art for Usagi Yojimbo: Legends

Postby Eltanin » Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:22 +0000

Wow! What an amazing cover!
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Re: Creating the cover art for Usagi Yojimbo: Legends

Postby Warren » Fri Sep 30, 2016 9:47 +0000

Excellent. :D

I always assumed Lord Hebi was green, for no better reason than he's a snake. I need to hand in my herpetology card!
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Re: Creating the cover art for Usagi Yojimbo: Legends

Postby jabba359 » Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:28 +0000

Warren wrote:Excellent. :D

I always assumed Lord Hebi was green, for no better reason than he's a snake. I need to hand in my herpetology card!


You wouldn't be entirely wrong, as Lord Hebi appears green on the cover of issue 48 of the Dark Horse run.

Image

I have a theory, however, to resolve this discrepancy. When he's younger, Hebi is green. Since on the Legends cover Hebi is likely representative of his Senso appearance, which takes place far in the future, maybe changing from green to brown as he ages is the snake equivalent of going grey?

Alternate theory: This is a subtle way of showing that the Senso story (and the related deaths) happens in an alternate universe where Hebi is brown instead of green. So in the Usagi "prime" universe, Hebi is green and therefore the fates of the characters in this alternate Senso/brown Hebi universe are different than those of the characters in the "prime" universe in which the rest of the books take place.

Alternate alternate theory: one of Hebi's ancient ancestors crossbred with a chameleon, giving him the ability to change color.

Okay, I think that's enough crazy theories from me... 8)
-Kyle
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Re: Creating the cover art for Usagi Yojimbo: Legends

Postby Warren » Fri Sep 30, 2016 13:28 +0000

jabba359 wrote:You wouldn't be entirely wrong, as Lord Hebi appears green on the cover of issue 48 of the Dark Horse run.


Ah. Thanks. I hadn't seen that.

Come to think of it, he was green in that TMNT episode, too. But I like the brown. Makes him look a little more saurian, to my eyes. And... stately, if that makes sense.

Okay, I think that's enough crazy theories from me... 8)

:lol: You know you're among fellow comics fans when...
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Re: Creating the cover art for Usagi Yojimbo: Legends

Postby JLM » Sun Oct 02, 2016 1:09 +0000

Nice!

Any hints about roughly when this will be available to buy?
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Re: Creating the cover art for Usagi Yojimbo: Legends

Postby leonid » Sun Oct 02, 2016 4:28 +0000

wow A fantastic cover. a great example of making water colours really pop.
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Re: Creating the cover art for Usagi Yojimbo: Legends

Postby Stan Sakai » Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:23 +0000

JLM wrote:Nice!

Any hints about roughly when this will be available to buy?


We won't get the art back until after the book is published, and I don't know offhand for when that is scheduled. Daniel has already gotten three offers for it.
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Re: Creating the cover art for Usagi Yojimbo: Legends

Postby JLM » Sun Oct 02, 2016 11:14 +0000

Apologies, the question was intended to mean when would the book be available, rather than the displayed artwork. :D
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Re: Creating the cover art for Usagi Yojimbo: Legends

Postby Stan Sakai » Sun Oct 02, 2016 21:12 +0000

JLM wrote:Apologies, the question was intended to mean when would the book be available, rather than the displayed artwork. :D


The best person to ask about when the book will is out is Steve. He seems to know more about what is going on with Usagi than I do. :)
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Re: Creating the cover art for Usagi Yojimbo: Legends

Postby Lobster Johnson » Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:55 +0000

That's a fantastic cover! :)
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