Friends approached me to create a custom piece for them. The idea was to feature the couple as two independent and original superhero characters that have joined forces. We decided on a custom comic book cover.
My first steps were to work out what the characters were going to look like. Marc wanted something along the lines of a film noir detective with nods to Alan Moore’s the Watchmen. Mimi wanted a badass, X-men style demon hunter. Once the character designs were approved by the couple, we were on to the next step.
I worked on thumbnail size sketches to figure out a composition that highlighted each character and their stories equally, also keeping in mind the look of some classic comic book covers. I did 5 – 10 of these at a level of scribble that I can understand and anyone else seeing them might think that I have no fingers and one eye.
When the composition was at a good place, I scanned it and printed onto two 8.5” x 11” sheets which I taped together (limits of my home printer at the time). I used non-repro blue pencils to draw the details. After a bunch of hours, it was ready to be scanned again. I did some cleaning up in Photoshop and placed it in Illustrator to work on the graphic elements. The title, “Marc & Mimi”, has a classic comic book arc and perspective. The issue number, date, and publisher icon represent their wedding anniversary. I did these parts in illustrator to make sure they were clean and properly proportioned. I know that the old school guys did this by hand, but I wanted the finished piece to be as polished as possible…and I didn’t trust my hand lettering. Then I converted these parts to a light cyan to match the blue pencil I used for the rest of the illustration and printed it directly onto a new cover sheet.
With the type set and sketch in place I printed it onto a proper comic book page board in very light cyan. I did some minor tweaks with blue pencil again and then it was time for ink. I always use a variety of tools to ink a piece. I like to work thinnest line to thickest. I like to use tech pens for backgrounds and inanimate items like buildings, cars, etc. I use brush pens for some of the finer detail in the characters and then a traditional brush and ink for the character outlines and major features.
That’s it! Marc and Mimi are happy with their final custom piece and that makes me happy. If you want to know more detail about my process or equipment I use, leave a message and stay tuned. I have plans to add more posts like this and expand on the details in the future.
Thanks for reading.