I sketched the dudes on paper, drew the ship on different paper, took pictures with my phone and uploaded them to the computer. Then i put the pictures on-top of each other and streched/rotated/scooted them around in photoshop, till i thought the guys and ship lined up how i wanted, then just had to drop the opacity of those photos to like 25% and trace right over them onto a new layer to get my main sketch. and all of that, i've found out, is the quickest, easiest way to do it. (I knew thats mainly what people did, but never actually gave it a try before. )
Before this I've always just drawn from scratch on the computer, looking at what i had on paper. That's difficult, by the way, because this file is like 3,000 pixels wide, and to fit that all on the screen you have to be all zoomed out to where you're looking at it at 20% size. So if you're drawing with a brush 3 or 5 pixels wide, basically not only can you not see your cursor, or the lines you're making, but the accuracy goes way down. Once you get zoomed into 100% the lines look like they were drawn with your left hand with parkinsons.
So, basically, you have to zoom in, zoom out, zoom in, zoom out. (while on paper you just look at it closer).
Anyways, I also dealt with more complicated colors on this picture. Meaning, for a lot of these effects I needed to make layer over layer over layer, and my computer just can't cut it. when hitting quicksave it takes a good 40 seconds to build the file every time.
i.e. this is what i mean by layers-- the green "paint" on their suits and the ship has to be a separate layer on TOP of the base color of the ship/their suits, but underneath the texturing (bumps, scratches, splots). (otherwise if you wanted to, lets say, make his helmet a bit darker, you'd draw right over the teal "paint", making it grey,and also wiping out the textures. then you'd have to go draw them both again, over and over as many times as you wanted to touch up/progress the picture. Also, i originally made the paint on his suit red, not green; but since it was its own layer, i just had to slide a bar to change the hue of the whole layer, rather than re-painting it to make it green. ) The same goes for the stars,and for each layer of clouds (there are 6), and for the little lights and plugs on their suits, etc...
Anyways, I always try to use the bare minimum of layers, because it's easy to get obsessive-compulsive about it (making a seperate layer for each piece of clothing, etc...) but mainly because it just frags my poor old laptop.
Well, when I get back, time to finally fork out the dough for a giant screened macintosh.
Hope you learned something about the... diligence of artists, if you had the diligence to make it through this whole post . (and keep in mind i'm still pretty elementary with this program)