I wanted to try a different workflow for this comic–one that solved a problem I keep running into. Because I do the figures and the backgrounds at different points in the process, I have a difficult time controlling tangents and the balance of values.
So this time, I finished my figures, then pushed down their opacity level to 30%. On a background layer, I quickly blocked in four values, until the balance looked right. I tried to keep the boundary lines from intersecting with the figures at awkward junctures.
Then, I printed out the value study as a guide, and painted the backgrounds in watercolor. My watercolor skills leave something to be desired, but this seemed like a good opportunity to practice. Once I scanned the watercolors in, I tweaked the heck out of them to get the values where I wanted them, and even changed the color of the sky completely. (I was trying to paint in a limited palette, with a warm-neutral as my base value, but that didn’t quite work out and after scanning, the sky just looked yellow.)
So anyway, you can see where I ended up in the cartoon. The backgrounds didn’t come out as I had hoped, but experimenting continues to teach me important lessons.