Here is a step-by-step look at the making of the cover to UY Book 30: Thieves and Spies. It was done on 4-ply 500 series Strathmore cold press bristol. The art is approximately 8.5×12.5 inches.
I laid out the pencils very loosely using a 2H 3mm mechanical pencil. I am just concerned with creating shapes here for composition. It is easy to make changes at this stage. You can see I decided against the original angle of Usagi’s sword.
Inking done with a Koh-i-Noor ArtPen which was discontinued about 15 years ago. It has a nice flex to the nib, giving a variation in line weight that makes it interesting to look at. I used Badger Black Opaque ink, old formula. The formula was changed to an acrylic base about 5 years ago. I don’t like their new recipe but, fortunately, still have a few bottles of the old stuff. As you can see, I decided against the whiskers on the left side of the guy on the right. It was too close to the other guy’s sword.
I needed to “mask” certain areas of the art to protect it from the watercolor paints. I coated the art and a sheet of tracing paper with rubber cement, waited for them to dry, then laid the tracing paper over the art. I used an X-acto knife to trim the areas needed to be protected.