This week in our interview series Multiversity Comics Presents, we’re trying something a little bit different. We’re going to spotlight a creator who is just entering the industry with a unique artistic style and a burgeoning writing voice – our friend Glen Walker. Glen will be taking us through a step-by-step process on how he creates a single page in one of his comics, with a an image and a synopsis on all of the work that goes into that page. It is very interesting to see, and for those out there who aspire to get into the industry I recommend checking this out as it is a very cool look into the work you have to put in to make it.
Each image corresponds with the text directly beneath it.
Glen: First off I write a script. The comic I’m writing right now (Northpark Underground) comes out in these 3 page sections, and these 3 page sections take about 3 hours or so to write. I’ve already got the bigger story outlined, and it’s outlined by each section, so I’m just kind of fleshing out the outline at this point. Since I’m the artist and the writer, I write really loose scripts, and they almost always get changed when I go to actually draw the page.
Next I draw a thumbnail sketch. I do them pretty small. I usually use about half of an 8.5 x 11 page. I use this mainly for figuring out how all the panels are going to go down. In this comic, I’m usually doing like 8-11 panel pages, which is a lot for a comic, so figuring out how to fit all the panels in can be a real chore. Again I draw this, but I don’t really stick it to it. You can see from this to the penciled version, a lot of stuff has already changed.
I’m an extremely loose penciler. I don’t take any time to refine my pencils. In fact I don’t even put much detail in there. I use pencils as more of an second outline. My pencils are really light, and they don’t scan very well, so I tried to bump up the contrast to make them more visible.
Next up, I ink the page. Unlike most artist, I actually spend more time inking than I do on pencils. Since I add so much of the details on the fly during inking, it ends up taking a lot longer. So things you can notice that weren’t on the penciled page are things like the characters beard, clothing folds, and background textures. These are all things I routinely leave out of my pencils, and only add during the inking process. I do most of my inking by hand. I use the uber trendy micron pens. Though I don’t use the standard ones most people use. I’ve started using their graphic pens, which have a much larger tip, and give the appearance of actually using a brush. They’re pretty new, but their amazing, I love those things. After I finish inking the page, I usually put it in photoshop and do some touch ups with my wacom tablet.
The next two steps kind of go together. I don’t’ use white backgrounds, I use a sort of off white, so I add that, and I do a flat background color to help with coloring. For this comic, I use these gradients for the background colors. Usually I detest gradients, but for some reason I think they work really well in this series. I got the idea, from Jonathan Hickman’s series Red Mass to Mars. He uses a lot more abstract colors in that, but the principal is really similar. Sometimes the colors I use for the background are really realistic, and sometimes it’s more to illustrate a feeling. For example on this page, I use a lot of red to show how angry the emo kids got.
After I do the background colors I start coloring in the actual characters. For this I use predominantly use flat color, to make the character different from background. Color is my least favorite part of the process. It just gets really boring and tedious, and it takes forever. especially for this comic. With other comics I’ve done in the past, I’ve used a much more loose color style that was a lot more fun to do. For coloring I have a set of about 20 pantone colors I use for basically everything in the series. Each of the main characters in the story have their own colors assigned to them, and even though I try and change their clothes each week, they are always wearing the same color clothes. Often times the background colors that pop up behind them are the main colors that I use for them.
Last but not least is Lettering. I really don’t put as much effort into lettering as I should. Which is strange because lettering is my biggest problem with comics industry. There are so many fonts out there, and 90% of the comics on market all use the same one. Even worse than that, if a comic isn’t done in that font, people look down their noses at it. That’s why I try to use a different font for every comic series I do. I really like finding a font that fits each series best.
So that is pretty much my process in a nutshell. It’s different for every series I do, but this is the way I’m doing stuff right now.
If you enjoyed this breakdown please check out Glen’s other sites and make sure to check out his work for Zuda (DC’s creator incubator program) below: