Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Making a Splash! (page, that is!)

Hey there, comic lovers! My name is Dee Fish. I'm the creator and artist of the indie comic, "The Wellkeeper!" An exciting fantasy/adventure comic centering on a young woman named Zoe who inherits a power that connects her to the life energy of the planet who is stalked by dark forces seeking to destroy her for her gifts!

With that out of the way, we can get on with it! I've shown you all before the steps behind inking a panel for issue #8, but things have changed a little and I've tweaked my techniques a little. As such, I felt like it was a good time to do a NEW blog post detailing just how I go about drawing a splash page for the upcoming 12th and final issue of "The Wellkeeper!"

It was a tricky challenge to pick a page that was generally spoiler free, so I picked the following splash page showing the FINAL stand-off between the villainous Withering Man and our hero, Zoe! (Spoiler... the hero and villain fight in the last issue. lol)

This layout was initially thought up as a potential cover for this issue, but I decided it worked better inside the book as a cool moment when our two characters face off for the last time. As always, I rough out my pencils VERY loosely with a Staedtler Non-Photo Blue pencil.

Yes, this is how loose I pencil when I'm inking myself. If I had to pencil tightly and then ink as tightly I think I would stab myself in the eyes.

Now, while I still occasionally use Faber-Castell PITT pens, I have largely transitioned over to the Pentel Stylo Sketch Penn! I'm in love with this pen. It's tip is designed to replicate the functionality of a traditional crow quill dip pen and offers AMAZING line weight variation without any of the awkwardness of the metal occasionally scraping across the paper that I've had with the crow quill tips, in part because of my being left handed. Plus, it's super easy to take anywhere so I can INK anywhere!

As Zoe is the primary foreground element, I ink in her primary outlines first, leaving the shadowing for later. To help POP foreground elements from the middleground and background, I often will give them a bolder outline to help separate the elements. For this, I use a fairly basic 06 Sakura Pigma Sensi marker

Now, because this splash page is designed to have a border and not be a full bleed page and certain elements of the Withering Man will pop OUT of that border, I switch back to the Style to ink those elements.

From here, I go back to my trusty Faber-Castell PITT Brush pen to do the panel border. All the panel borders in the Wellkeeper are inked freehand with a purposely wobbly line.

After inking in the wobbly panel border, I switch back to my Stylo to ink the remainder of the outlines for the character and background elements. In this case, the rocks they're standing on. Basically, anything that will require black spotting. (As such, I tend to ink the clouds in the sky after everything else.)

From here, I pull out my OTHER favorite inking tool: The Pentel Pocket Brush Pen! This beauty is like inking CRACK for me. It gives me beautiful, juicy lines and blacks that can be as fine as a hair or as chunky as any regular brush. It's flippin' MAGIC, peeps! 

Once all the solid blacks are laid down and I have the light and shadows all sussed out on the page, It's back to the trusty Stylo to add in my rendering to soften out the shadows and textures. Another reason that I love this pen, is that just like a real crow quill pen, if you turn the tip onto it's side, you get wonderfully fine lines for cross hatching. Then you can use the tip regularly for juicy feathering just by turning the pen slightly in your hand. GLEE!!!

Now that the remaining, fine line rendering is complete, I switch over to my LAST pen to add white lines, "Halo" lines separating elements or just additional rendering over the solid black areas. For this I use a Sakura Gelly Roll White pen.

From there, it's just a matter of scanning the art in and adding letters and the page is done. Hope you dug this little step-by-step demo of the making of a splash page. Of course, if you want to see how the battle ENDS, you'll have to get your hands on the Entire series of THE WELLKEEPER! ON SALE NOW!

See you in the funny pages!

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