I get a lot of requests to show the raw pencils or the raw inks as well as requests to see tutorials so i thought I would try and fill all the requests by showing the page process as it goes from layout to pencils to inks and then colors. I'm using the last page of New X-Men #20 since it's got a nice big image and should be the most interesting to see in progress.
STEP 1- Layout. This is a really small rough drawing(generally 8”X5”) done in about 15 or 20 minutes just so I can see how the page should be laid out and where everything will go. I'm not really concerned about all the little details at this point because this is only for me and not generally going to be seen by anyone else. Think of it as a blueprint for what’s to come.
STEP 2- pencils. Depending on how much I like the layout I’ll either scan the layout in and blow it up to 11X17, print it, and lightbox the outline onto my comic board or I’ll simply draw the page from scratch using my layout as reference. If I light box it, I’ll usually do it with a non-photo blue pencil and then add all my details very lightly with a size 2h lead pencil. Once everything is where I’d like it to be I go back through with a size H and HB to tighten it up. A lot of times I’ll add little ‘X’s to the areas that I’d like filled in with black by the inker. This saves time for me and keeps the inker from having to erase a whole bunch.
STEP 3- inks. I send the page out via FedEx to my inker Jaime Mendoza. Jaime takes the page and goes over it adding the contour lines and spotted blacks that give the page a lot of depth. If you look at the difference between the pencils and inks you’ll see that Jaime added a lot of chaser lines and make my flat pencil marks go from thick to thin depending on the lighting. He’ll also add additional textures like the cracks around the ground and marks on the figures body. Jaime is an amazing inker and I think it’s evident by all the fine little touches he added to this page.
STEP 4- colors. Once finished Jaime scans the piece in and sends it over to Brian Reber so he can finish the page up. Brian first determines where the light source is coming from and begins laying down light and dark shades accordingly. In this case the light is coming from the doorway so Brian adds a really nice gradient light coming from the lover right to the top left. He also fills on some of the shadows that weren’t evident in the inks like the shadow of Emma falling across Jay’s legs. He’ll also add textures to give the piece a more real feel like the stone look to the sidewalk and a liquidy shine to the blood. Brian also incorporates a beautiful color palette so the piece pops while still being gritty and dingy. Color choice is just as important as technique so should be focused on just as much. Once Brian is done he sends the page via FTP site over to Marvel to be lettered and printed.
The process goes on all month long until we’ve done this 22 times for each book. It sounds time consuming (and it is) but you find that it gets easier the more you do it. Hope you found this enjoyable and let me know if you have any questions and I’ll try to edit it into the description.
Also, I still have my 2005 sketchbooks available to anyone that wants one. Read my latest journal entry and send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like one!
Thanks for looking!