The Art of Ryan Francis

The art website of Ryan Francis

Let’s Make a Comic Part 8: Cover

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So it turns out I need to draw a cover of my comic book to print it out and sell it to people. Imagine that.

I’ll be going through the entire process of making the cover for Incident at the Game Store. This much more compressed and I did a majority of my coloring work on my Art Stream.

I entirely used a Size 1 Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable brush to ink this with Carbon Black Liquitex Acrylic ink. Since it’s a cover and the printer I use, Ka-Blam Printing, allows color covers with black and white interiors, I’ll actually be coloring this in Manga Studio!

I will begin, like anything else, by making small thumbnail sketch to figure out the composition. As I do this, I’m trying to remember the point of this comic story, which is a simple funny potentially true story that veers into fiction for humor. Not much character development, no deep themes, just a straightforward joke(that I blew months of time on…)

I start some blue line work to lay it out. I work on emphasizing the hands and using red lines for the cheeto dust. The actual drawing went fairly fast but, I was busy with so other freelance work and conventions that I got delayed from actually getting started on it for a while. Luckily, the one day I had to work on it, I burned through it really quickly as the illustration is mostly a large character body with ugly hands and I knew I would do the lettering on the computer, letting me focus on the drawing that I know more about doing.

On ward to inking with my brush! I start with the face work at the top of the page, timidly working with my brush to get in the nostrils.

With my nervous hand, I draw in some wispy, dirty looking hair. I’m still bothered by some rough line work, but nothing a few more years of practice can’t fix right?

After finishing the rest of the head, I refine the facial hair details. Looking back, I wonder if I could’ve gotten better results with a nib or a tech pen, but at the time I only took a brush and ink with me because I didn’t want to carry a lot of things at that time.

I get started working on the hands, starting with the left one. The process goes quick, nailing down the outside lines thick to give depth, working on more Cheeto crumbs falling off the fingers, picking and choosing which crumbs to use so the detailing doesn’t get too even or complicated. The same general process works on the right hand and the inking goes pretty quickly.

Most of the easy part is done. I only needed some Pro-White to redraw a line to make it look more balanced in the over all image.

Here’s the entire page completed with inking!

Now to scan the page and prep for coloring. I follow my general process for preparing my artwork in Photoshop.

This is my basic flat set up for the cover. I use the Impact font as it looks closest to the GameStop Logo. The general idea that I have for the cover is for the title to be on the fat guy’s shirt with his Cheeto-dusted hands getting closer to you the view.

I started some basic flat colors to see what I would need as a general color scheme; flatting the skin, hair color, nails, t-shirt and the little crumbs of Cheeto dust on the fat guy’s fingers.

I continued experimenting with brushes, dealing with soft brushes and gradients to get a good shading. I found a nice dirty brush in Frenden Dry Media Brush packs that gives a great dusty effect for the Cheeto crumbs.

I experimented with colored lines to see if it looked better but I think it isn’t working out for me.

I tried finding a happier medium of color saturation and lighting to make sure the title was readable while the colors were good.

I changed up the lettering of his shirt somewhat after feedback. Impact seems fine as a font since it’s the GameStop logo I’m parodying, but perhaps it’s too much to make it the entire font scheme, so I went down to more subdued fonts like Veranda.

I continue more experiments with the colored lines. I tried doing some things like working with the Hue and Saturation to make the lines stand out but also blend town to the skin.

I show this comparison to get some feedback from trusted people to see what would look better. Personally, I thought the black lines looked clearer than the colored lines despite having that “Ren and Stimpy Close-up” look that would work for the idea of looking disgusting. My reasoning for having second thoughts about black lines was because I feel like black colors are unappealing to people these days.

This is the final cover I’ve decided to use. The black lines stayed because I’d rather have better clarity than anything else. It’s better to stop fidgeting with the cover and just get it done!

Overall, I should’ve thought harder about the cover from the very beginning, but I figured my art and story would change as I worked on it and I didn’t want to spend more time than I needed to. I’m pretty much done with this comic now, it’s time to go print and publish this.

Author: mastafran42

I'm a freelance cartoonist who has been going at it for several years at this point. I mostly draw cartoons, and comics, so if you need something funny, cool, or expertly done art, I have what you need. If you have any questions, job offers, comments, concerns, complains, or simply wish to say hi, message me!

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