In describing myself with a word list, I ended up deciding that I wanted to portray myself as happy, because I am an extremely optimistic person, but also illustrate my affinity for the macabre, which I consider to be an important part of my identity. I also knew that I wanted to caricature myself a bit because I have never done that before and I greatly admire graphic novel style illustration. My goal was to create a piece that looks entirely recognizable as myself while not being photo-accurate and also to appear happy/smiling while gory, which is a good challenge.
I ended up using cross-hatching on the finalized sketch to better convey shadows, but I knew I wanted to stick to mostly one-directional line shading when I digitized it. To cartoon-ize myself, I enlarged my eyes and made my head more round. It was quite challenging to get the open mouth at the right angle and I don’t think I accomplished that with this sketch. I made quite a few changes to the proportion/angle of the jaw in the digitized version.
Since I wasn’t sure what color palette I wanted to go with, I made my skin and hair their natural hue with the idea that I would experiment with them later. This was my first time using the Wacom pen and monitor, so I spent a fair bit of time figuring out the best way to separate the layers. I tried to use several different line widths, and I did some reverse-cross-hatching instead of one-directional shading for the white highlights for a different texture. If I were to change something, I would experiment with different line widths and directions for the shading on the face.
After receiving feedback, I decided to look to classic horror posters for color palette inspiration. It didn’t take me long to decide on Frankenstein, as it’s my favorite horror series. The poster uses a classic and well-balanced color palette that is exciting to view, and I drew inspiration from the background and typography as well: