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Title: Insert for Captain Amazing-Lad DVD
Client: Knight Entertainment
Media: Freehand, Photoshop
© 2007 Knight Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
Creative Process
In early 2006, Knight Entertainment entered
into an agreement with my studio, Quality
Cheese Productions, to distribute the Captain
Amazing-Lad DVD. The DVD contained the
pilot episodes, the 2006 sequel, and several
minutes of behind-the-scenes material and
bonus footage.
To capitalize on the superhero aspect
of the character, Knight contracted me to
produce a comic insert to highlight some of
the DVD’s bonus material. I hired a model
to pose for the character of Liz Lavender,
looking to give the female lead an authentic
but retro look. Later, I scanned the drawings
into my laptop and used FreeHand to ink
and embellish all the line work. Then, I used
Photoshop for the lettering and gray tones.
The finished product had a nice mono-
chromatic palette and was strongly in-
fluenced by two of the most renowned
illustrators of comic books, Jack Kirby, for his
dynamic compositions, and Neal Adams, for
his sense of realism.
K
eith Carter began his career in 1986 pencil-
ing and inking for SilverWolf Comics, a small
publisher out of Sacramento, California. Since
then, his work has appeared in such publications as USA
Today, the Washington Post, and National Geographic.
In 1993 his career took a new direction when he be-
came an animator with Washington, D.C.–based studio
News In Motion. While working with clientele such as
Disney, CNN, and Lucasfilm, Carter developed his craft
for animated storytelling.
Currently, Carter is an Emmy award–winning broad-
cast animator for various television studios in the greater
Washington, D.C., area.
Keith Carter
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Keith Carter
Title: Heroes illustration for USA Today
Client: USA Today
Media: FreeHand, Photoshop
© 2007 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
I was hired in January of 2007 to pro-
duce this full-color splash page for USA
Today’s “Life” section. The editors wanted to
do something special for a story concern-
ing NBC’s very popular new series, Heroes.
NBC had decided to put the show on an
eleven-week hiatus in between storylines
to build anticipation. A week before the
series would resume, USA Today made
the decision to run a full-page graphic to
recap its readers on all the previous events
on the show. We intended the artwork to
resemble a comic book/graphic novel.
This assignment took me four eight-hour
workdays to complete. Each figure alone
took about three hours to produce: one
hour to accurately portray each character’s
facial expression, one to pencil and ink all
the necessary figure work, and one to color.
That works out to twenty-seven hours for all
related body art. Then add in another five
hours for the design of the page and the
production of the background paintings.
This project was so well received by the
staffers of USA Today and its readers that I
was awarded the publication’s prestigious
Hainer Award for graphic excellence.
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Keith Carter
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Step two: When the FreeHand art is finally
complete, I group the related art elements into one
large composition file and copy the final product
into Photoshop at 300 dpi in CMYK, if the art is
for print. For television, I use 72 dpi with the color
mode set at RGB. Once the art element is pasted
into Photoshop, I use the polygon tool with a
5 percent feather to place gray tones.
Step One: Once the pencil work/hand draw-
ings are scanned and copied into FreeHand, I use the
circle and polygon tools to trace and embellish the
original line work. All graphic polygon shapes are then
filled with 100 percent black with all line art elements
set at none. This technique produces a very sleek and
dynamic boldness.
Keith Carter
STEP-BY-STEP
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Creating Comics
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