Progress with a process. Or, How I Make Comics.

Written by Matthew Warlick

November 10, 2010

I’ve always enjoyed a look behind the process of my favorite artists and thought I’d share my current process with anyone who might be interested. Below is a 6 view cross-section of how I currently work on comic art and pinups.

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Step 1: Roughs

I usually do super small roughs in a sketchbook or on printer paper. I’ve found working small in the beginning helps me keep my proportions in check and focus more on the shape, flow and composition of the piece. For this I wanted a classic action pose for Powerman and Iron Fist, so I did stand-alone figure shots and composited them for penciling.

Step 2: Pencils

Here I print out blue lines, again on copy paper, and do the detail work. Having a solid base helps me keep the pencils tighter without worrying about the figures.

Step 3: Inks

Here’s where the magic happens! I print out blue lines on smooth bristol and go to town with various pens and brushes. My favorites at the moment are a variety of Kurutake disposable brush pens.

Step 4: Flats

A pretty simple but fundamental step is doing color flats. I lay down a layer of solid color selections to use later for rendering. I tend to use this step to work out the overall color scheme and mood of the piece as well.

Step 5: Renders

The fun part of coloring comics! I break out custom Photoshop brushes and go to town. For this piece I went with a classic cell shaded look for the renders.

Step 6: Effects

My favorite part of the process! referred to by my studio mates as my “Marvel glow” this is where I use glows, effects and color holds to make the piece pop. I often will spot bright whites as well to help highlights really stand out.

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1 Comment

  1. Beth

    Although I already get an inside look as to how you mastermind a piece, it’s still amazing to see it laid out AND animated. Well done kiddo. 🙂