Sunday, 7 February 2016

Comic Cover Roughs!

It's not all Holidays and Zulu's on here you know, I am also working hard on a couple (yes, there's more than one!) comic projects at the moment. One is a short collection of some of my adventure strips and is more advanced than the others, so much so that it's time to think about the cover!

I initially had a very simple design in mind which would just use snippets from the various interior artwork which would probably be fairly easy to pull together. But maybe 'easy' is another word for 'lazy' and I thought that a brand new cover would be more appropriate.

What you see above then is literally the back of an envelope when I scribbled down a couple of ideas a few days ago. It's important to do this as ideas tend to go as quickly as they come and it's frustrating to forget them so a quick scribble on whatever is handy will do the job.

I returned to these scribbles a few days later and decided to prominently feature only one of my characters on the cover, ideally in a suitable pose representative of his story and the contents.

I quite liked this but to fit in both the planned logo and contents list, I'd have to think carefully on where best to place the figure, while (hopefully) remaining in a dramatic and representative pose. That's where thumbnails come in to quickly get down a variety of poses to see which works best;

Each one is very loose, a little frantic and takes only a few seconds to do. They're a couple of inches square each, all squeezed into a single page of scrap A4 paper. The idea is not to be precious over it,  it's not about the quality of the drawing, it's about looking at the shape, style and layout and seeing which best fits your ideas. You can do dozens of thumbnails sometimes but it's best to give yourself a time limit otherwise you may find you don't do any actual drawing!

I liked several of them but as often happens I liked the movement of the first one best and decided to work that up into pencils on A3 Bristol board that same day, which didn't take too long. Normally I do nip out to the Copy Shop to duplicate my pencils before I start inking - it's an old habit of mine, mainly so I have a copy of the drawing so in theory I can go back to it if I ruin the original inking! On this occasion though we had a busy day lined up (wee bit of shopping, tea out and cinema - the disappointing Dad's Army this time!), so I didn't get a chance and rather than lose time today, I just dived into the inking before nipping out to the Copy Shop just before it closed.

I'll post about the pain, joys of inking another time,  but here is the cleaned up, reduced, scanned copy to compare with the thumbnail above;

It's maybe a little different and possibly lost some of the 'urgency' afforded by the quick thumbnail, but I'm happy that the image works in the context of what I need. It'll soon be coloured and have logo, text and bits n bobs added to it as the collection is assembled and announced - more of that to come later -  but this hopefully shows an honest evolution of a simple cover which, surprisingly for me, only took only a few short hours to produce over a busy weekend!


  1. That looks great Colin .. can't wait to see this comic on our table at Cons.

  2. Thanks Dave, you and me both :)

  3. I love seeing people doodles building up and developing! Awesome!!

    1. Thanks Danny, yep it's a wee glimpse behind the creative curtain!