How I cre­ate… a bat­tle scene at sun­rise

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Page lay­out


In this tiny thumb­nail I’m build­ing the com­po­si­tion of the page and also try­ing to catch the feel and mo­tion of the scene. That’s why I al­ways break down the full is­sue in colours with these tiny roughs (many comic artist do these only in black and white). These lay­outs are cru­cial for the body of story, and most of my con­cep­tual de­ci­sions are made dur­ing this stage.

De­tailed sketch


This is my pen­cil stage! I love this step be­cause when paint­ing dig­i­tally you still have a ton of work ahead of you af­ter this, but in comics you usu­ally just need to ce­ment your sketch. I draw the cave­men separately, and then com­bine them into one com­po­si­tion. I like the feel­ing of un­cer­tainty in this spread: the At­lanteans seem to be han­dling the at­tack, but there’s a lot of wild hu­mans to deal with, and our he­roes’ pos­tures in­di­cate sheer ex­haus­tion.

Get ink­ing


Usu­ally I do 90 per cent of UN­DER­TOW with tra­di­tional ink. But for a piece this large I print some of the main parts of the pen­cils on A4 paper, ink it with a cou­ple of brush pens, scan it, com­pose my work­ing file and then fin­ish it with dig­i­tal ink­ing. I do most of my dig­i­tal work in Manga Stu­dio EX 4.0, be­cause it’s ideal for black and white graphic and colour flats. The fi­nal colour ren­der­ing takes place in Pho­to­shop.

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