Thursday, February 28, 2013

Gene Colan pencils, Detective#523 gallery

Hi, this was scanned from photocopies sent to me by DC Comics in around 1986, I think, in order to entice me to ink this Gene Colan Batman story. One page is missing here, and page one was redrawn, I assume at the editor's request.
I grew up reading and loving Gene's work on Daredevil, and all the other stuff he did at Marvel, so I turned this assignment down with much regret. I just didn't have the time to ink it, and figured I would always get another chance to ink a childhood favorite of mine! Well, it never happened, with the sole exception of a commission I did via light-box, in the early 2000's. 
The thing to remember when studying these pencils, is that there is a lot to interpret, as an inker, here. You could ink it exactly as drawn, but would have to interpret areas where gene indicates tone, not solid black. This is where many inkers went astray on his work, and why guys like Tom Palmer, Klaus Janson, and Dick Giordano, to name a few, excelled on his pencils. They used varying techniques such as dot patterned films, or lines the approximate the grey tones on the pencils.

Batman and all related characters are trademark and copyright 2013 by DC Entertainment. Used here for educational purposes only, no reproduction is allowed without permission.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Adventures of Superman#424 cover demo

This was where I started on the cover to my first Superman cover after John Byrne's Man of Steel reboot in 1986. I only have this photocopy of the color sketch I did for Adventures of Superman#424. I wanted this to feel like a return to greatness, and show a powerful and patriotic character, reflecting Superman's midwestern upbringing. It was TOO much, according to Andy Helfer, the editor, and it was suggested that the stars and stripes be implied, rather than having the actual flag in there. It was a good call, as it uncluttered the image.
 I eliminated the flag, and did this as a revision.
 I colored a photocopy, to indicate the stars and stripes, and also because I begged and whined for DC to let me paint the cover. I took some inspiration from the great WW2 era patriotic Superman covers. Andy signed off on this, and I was given the go-ahead.
The cover was done with the line art being photographed, then the image was transferred to drawing paper using the blueline process, with a clear film of the black line art as an overlay the exact size as the blueline . This allows the color work to be painted on the board in gouache, an opaque paint medium, while still maintaining the crisp 100% black line art of the drawing on top. In reproducing painted color comic work before computers, even if you colored with transparent watercolor, the final product would not have crisp black rendering lines without separating that line art on an overlay.

Superman is trademark and copyright 2013 by DC Entertainment, used for promotional purpose

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Human Bomb #3 sketch to finished cover

My latest comic project, The Human Bomb, has had three of four issues published by DC Comics as of this writing, and I hope you will seek them out, online at Comixology, or at a local comic book shop. You can search for stores in your area online. Comic books are how I earn my living, and I depend on sales to keep me employable:)

I started with 4 choices for the editor, and threw in one idea that was a bit of a spoiler as it happens inside the issue. Usually don't like to do that, but I felt like I was tapped out on the more generic "Human Bomb blows up robots" idea.

Editor and whoever else at DC chose sketch#3, which I decided to draw smaller than normal, because of the perspective points being easier to locate off the paper area on my drawing table. Often, perspective shots are easier to draw smaller when the "vanishing points" your lines are going towards will still be able to be marked on the paper or even on your drawing surface. At full 10x15" size, I would have had these vanishing points two feet off the side of the table. Also it is good, I think, to do things differently, even if only for variety, once and a while.

When I went to color, I started with the background, and then the floor surface, to establish the mood, and color values for the image. In photoshop, you can zoom in on every detail so much, that I overworked the smallest details, things that don't show up in the printed comic. I'm still trying to find that balance in coloring digitally. When you paint on paper, there's a limit to how small your brush size is, and it helps keep you from focusing too close:)

Human Bomb and all related characters are trademark and copyright DC Entertainment 2013, and used here for promotional purposes.