Archive for August, 2011

I’m often asked about my process in creating pictures, so I figured I would do a step-by-step on my latest illustration.

Step 1. I start all my work in Photoshop. I have pre-created page templates at various sizes to work on. The one pictured here is a virtual 10″x15″ at 400 dpi. I create my rough sketch segregating elements in different layers; this one has 7 layers; for the background and others for the various figures, which makes it easy to move items around to get the composition I want without having to redraw.


Step 1: The rough layout.

Step 2. After completing my rough and finalizing the composition, and still working in Photoshop — I start doing a cleaner, tighter version, working on each picture element individually. In this stage I also add rudimentary light and shade. Each of the more detailed images are then saved separately in preparation for the next stage. This basically represents my finished pencils.


Step 2: Defining the graphics.

Step 3. Once I have my digital version of “finished” pencils ready, I then import them as a blue-line into Manga Studio, where I create an “ink” layer and ink away. As you can see I add a lot of details in the ink stage that are not present in my penciled version. I do this for each picture element from the original layout, and I personally have a lot of fun at this stage, since I can start to see the characters take on life!


Step 3: Inking…

Step 4. Once I’ve inked the various elements in Manga Studio, they are saved as Tiff files and then loaded back into Photoshop, where I composite each to their respective places in the layout. The inked figures are in separate layers so it’s still easy to make changes if necessary. I also work from the foreground to the background, and in this case all the foreground characters are inked and placed, and the next set will be the middle-ground figures and so on.




Step 4: Compositing.

Step 5. After the figures and all foreground elements have been inked, the last item I work on is the background. I also do these in Manga Studio using the line and curve tools, or/and the pen tool for detailing. I create full backgrounds so I can add them to my library of personal clip-art for potential future use. Once the background is completed, I export the image as a Tiff file.


Step 5: The Background inks.

Step 6: For the final step we’re back in Photoshop, where I load the inked background and composite it behind the inked figures for the final rendering. I then do any necessary clean-up and add any shadows (such as on the floor surface) and any other details that may be necessary to pull the piece together as a single unit.


Step 6: Compositing.

And the final result is saved as a hi-res 300 dpi Tiff file, ready for colors or print.  Here is the finished illustration:


The Monster of Frankenstein


Samurai Sam

Posted: August 18, 2011 in Comic Books
Tags: , , ,

It’s been a very busy month, and I’ve been pretty slow on new postings here!  I’m still working hard to clear the decks of current commitments so I can start on some exciting new projects beginning of September.  In the meantime, let me share this little nugget with you!

It was sometime last year that writer Michael Leal and I teamed-up on this 1-page project!  We wanted it to be fun and irreverent, and we had found the perfect idea: a satire on the old “Hostess” comic-style cupcake ads that appeared in comics back in the 70s.

I had wanted to do something “manga”-inspired for a little while and had an idea for a character called Samurai Sam.   Michael and I worked old school “Marvel-style” where we discussed the idea and came up with a general concept.  I went about drawing it, and was still working with traditional tools so this is done in pen and ink with color added digitally in Photoshop; Michael did the captions and dialogue based on the artwork.   This piece was originally slated for a comics anthology of 1 pagers that has unfortunately, since been shelved by the publisher.

And here, for your viewing pleasure is Samurai Sam in “A Demon for Cake!”

Samurai Sam

Click to Enlarge

I’ve been working on a fun little project with writer Michael Leal called The Last Survivor.  We’ve been doing the story old school “Marvel-style” where Michael provided me with a page by page outline that I would interpret and draw accordingly.  Michael will be doing the captions and dialogue based on the final art.

Here’s a little peek into our work procedure with pages from Micheal’s outline and the corresponding finished artwork:

Page 1

 Bela smirking introduces the “Last Survivor”.

Boarded up house with overgrown grass.

Newspapers on table. The headlines read. “Townsfolk mutated!” “End of the world as we know it!”

 Pictures of his family.

Smashed mirrors.

The first time we see Barton he’s disheveled and waiting with a rifle at the ready.


Page 1

Page 4

He sneaks out of the stronghold with his rifle in hand.

He creeps past creatures, including a mail man, as he cuts across the street and makes his way into the alley.


Page 4

And finally, here’s a Last Survivor promo trailer: