Well its been a good couple of months but, like the writers of Lost, Pat and I are still working on the ending of this story even as we complete Act 2! As much as we began this comic in the spirit of Kirby and Lee, with their Marvel Method, what we have found in actually creating our comic is that stories have to have more depth than they did in the Silver Age. Therefore, what began as a simple adventure which Pat envisaged as 1 issue has become a monster, with supporting characters, inhabiting a storyworld with a rich history, all of which, you dear reader, may not even get to see in this first tale of ours, but which, believe me, has haunted our every waking moment and continues to drive the plot of poor little Leo's life in ways which at the outset we could not envisage! So, while we polish our little tale, and Pat frantically tries to resize and reletter issue 2 (after learning what "bleed" means to a Printer!), as well as rewriting issue 3 for the fifth time, I would like to present a walkthrough of how I painted the front cover for issue 2. In terms of my approach for this, it is similar to how I have worked on all the pages so far, but I have begun to use standard comic paper with guides, which is a little more expensive, but allows you to do all the work on one page without having to blow things up before painting. As for the idea, initially I tried something more abstract on canvas as with the first issue cover, but it wasn't working, so the idea with this cover was to portray the gist of what happens in the comic but to ramp up the tension by making all the dangers seem more immediate.
I started by sketching out the design using col-erase pencil, red for characters, blue for architecture. At this stage I tried a few things out for the composition, and having initially set the gates far back in the frame, I brought them forward to allow the Strange Things outside to be bigger and more defined. But from the very beginning I knew I wanted the image to have Leo looking quite small in the middle:
Next, I pencilled The definitive lines in...
...before using Lettraset marker pens to block out base colours, but having never used them directly on pencil before, I never realised that they smudged the graphite, not good, but anyway I could fix that later on...
Next I used watercolours to add detail, and texture.
Finally, highlights and were added with white acrylic paint, shadows with a second layer of marker, the pencil lines were inked. Then the whole thing was scanned into the computer and the levels tweaked to add a little boldness to the colour, to produce the finished image:
Which will be sent to Pat for lettering! So now you know.