How I create… a battle scene at sunrise
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.
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.
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.