Monday, January 24, 2011

Captain America Cover part 4

Finally we reach to color stage. Colors is where it all comes together. Nothing can set the tone or create atmosphere like the colors. Luckily I was able to work with my long time collaborator, Mike Atiyeh. I did my usual color notes to give Mike an idea of what I was thinking, how I was picturing the piece. He didn't need them. He knows Cap inside out. All I needed to do was kick back and let him do his thing.

Captain America Cover part 3

I had the unique opportunity to ink myself on this piece. Something I've never actually done. Well, I've done it before in my sketchbook or for fun but never published. After submitting a few samples to prove that I'm not completely incompetent, they let me ink it. Those who know me know I have a love/hate relationship with inkers. They can make or break a piece, they really can. If you get lucky and your piece ends up in the hands of a great inker, he can make your piece sing like you'd never imagined. If it ends up in the hands of a not so great inker, you go nuts wondering why you'd just spent 15 hours drawing it only to have some hack take a dump on it. You then go off and vent to your wife on how you hate this job and you want to quit. Seriously.

People have asked me about inking in the past and I tell them it's like handwriting. Imagine writing a letter in your best handwriting, the cursive kind. You try to be as neat as possible and you do it all in pencil. Your handwriting is as personal as your fingerprint. You write Ws and Gs and Bs like no one else. The arc of your letters could be angular, could be rounded. Whatever, it's the way you do it and you want it to look like you. Now hand it off to some complete stranger and tell him to go over it in ink. He has his ways of doing things, he sees things differently than you do. Of course, this is inevitable, you are completely different individuals. You just hope his penmanship is far better than yours.

Okay, back to Cap. I get this great opportunity to ink myself on what is currently my favorite Marvel Super Hero. A tiny little bit of panic sets in. I've never inked a cover before. I dig in and this is what I came up with. I confess it was tough. Inking was very time consuming, almost as much as penciling. Almost. It's definitely not without flaws, many of them actually. But they are my flaws and not someone else's.

Captain America Cover part 2

Pencils. Honestly, this is probably my least favorite part of the process. All the thinking has already been done in the thumbnail rough. You can see what's going on there. It has an energy I can never match on the finished piece. But, we need a large clean image that works for reproduction. It's not that I don't enjoy it, it gives me the opportunity to put in all these tiny little details which is fun in itself. But it can be incredibly labor intensive.

Captain America Cover part 1

As usual, the client will ask for multiple roughs to choose from. After I submit them we discuss what they like or don't like. I will sometimes go through another round with the corrections. In this case it was pretty clear cut that version B was the better choice. Far more energy, a bigger Captain America, smaller Bucky. Plus it helps to have the tilted horizon, it just adds more tension to the piece. Oh yeah, and Hitler is getting his teeth knocked out!

Captain America Cover

This is the cover for Captain America #1 from 1941 by Jacky Kirby. Marvel recently asked me for a modern interpretation of it for their reprint.