Step 10 – That Background: Now comes a problem, it's all too orange. My original idea of having the background be warm to let Essie's purple dress pop gets drowned out by the bright orange lighting on her, so I decide to take a different route and color adjust the background palette to match Essie's palette. I do this in part because she's dominating the beast—The Consultant might be bigger and obviously stronger, but Essie is bound to be the victor.
Step 11 – Ground The Beast: At this point I felt The Consultant wasn't heavy enough. There was something missing, she needed to be grounded to something. So I added a nice rough shadow below her; now you get that sense that she's really huddled to the ground, waiting to swipe at Essie!
Step 12 – Bloody Mess: It's not a proper battle without some spilt blood right? A couple scratches here and there, some blood in the mouth, and splattered blood on the floor to really help ground this beast!
Step 13 – Glare: Some more subtle lighting touches, I add a gradient to the top left of the piece, pulling the background further back.
Step 14 - Atmospheric Perspective: The final step here, I drown the upper right in an off white to create atmospheric perspective. This method helps push the background even further, giving the floor even more depth and length than before while bringing Essie further towards us. Also, I add a bit of sun glow to the tip of her spear to really make it pop.
Step 15 - Complete: Now the magicians in production at Oni Press pick the appropriate color for the title to tie it with the rest of the illustration and boom—The Life After issue #9 cover is born! Mazel Tov!