Simon: Mend, Cover Progression

I premiered a new Simon short form comic at Stumptown this past weekend.  This slideshow is a brief look at the evolution of the cover from thumbnails to final version

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I started with thumbnail images (first two images) which I actually blew up and printed, then folded with paper in the middle as a mock-up.  I find that holding the image in book form in your hands is the best way to figure out what is working and what isn’t.  I showed it to some folks to get varied opinions (illustrators, graphic design folks, filmmakers… man I love working at an art school).  I still think it changed a lot once I started drawing.

Next was pencilling (oops, no picture.  Sorry about that).  Even though this is only half of a head, I drew the whole head, to make sure proportions were accurate.  Then, I looked at it just as the half face and changed some of the placements, actually distorting it slightly.  Strangely, sometimes a half face looks better when proportions are NOT perfect.  Go figure.

Then, on to inking.  Again, I inked most of this with my brushes.  This one kinda inked itself.

Scanning followed.  I’ll do another post on my backwards scanning techniques.  But here’s a little insight… advice be damned, I scan as a grayscale image, not a bitmap as many comic artists do.

All Coloring was done in photoshop.  I use a wacom tablet/pen to aid in this process.  Between images 3-4 you’ll see a little thing I tried with Simon’s eyelid, but ended up leaving it in the original form in the end.  For the sections with color (well, not b/w) I do a lot of tweaking with layers and opacity.  You can see some of this in images 4-5.  I created the halftone dots through trial & error with the filter in photoshop.  I had about 3 variations (again, no pictures. Sorry) but ended up with what you see at the end.

This was a pretty basic run through.  Next time I’ll have a thorough look at how I use photoshop for cleanup of my black and white pages for GARY.


– Tyrell

Stumptown Comics Fest!

Finally had a chance to post my thoughts on Stumptown Comics Fest, which I had the honor of tabling at this past weekend.  It was my first time tabling at the event and I’d like to say a big thanks to everyone who came out and showed their support for the artists!  Here are some shots from the show:

My table

The Floor

The guys: From left to right, Reid Psaltis, Josh Shalek, Kenan Rubenstein, & Neil Brideau (apologies to Kenan for catching him mid coffee gulp).  Couldn’t ask for better table-mates than these guys!

A huge thanks to Reid & Neil in particular for helping me get into the show in the first place.  If you haven’t seen the amazing work of these fellows, check it out:

Reid Psaltis… Cryptozoology.  Need I say more?

Neil Brideau… Neil’s handcrafted books have a charm all their own

Kenan Rubenstein… Kenan’s calender comic ‘Tick’ blew my mind.  He is also the foldy comics guy!

Josh Shalek… very few can master the 3-5 panel comic strip.  Josh is one of those few.


Expansion #2 by Malachi Ward & Matt Sheean.  Dare I say these gents are creating the finest sci-fi comics currently available?

Amy in the Spring of 1990 by Colin Ryono & Mike Skrzynski.  A touching, yet funny little tale of a crush that came & went.  Buy it

FOOD...Oh yes, there was also food to be eaten in Portland:

Again, thanks to all who came out and showed support!  It was a warm welcome to the Pacific Northwest and Stumptown Fest!

– Tyrell

MIGHTY now available

A comic I did a few years back is now available for digital download.  It’s called Mighty

The book is based on the Biblical account of King David and his Mighty Men.  It explores the psychological and spiritual struggles of David’s warriors as they vanquish countless foes in the name of their Lord.  Mighty is full of epic battles, while questioning the ability of faith to overcome doubt and man’s struggle with his call.

The book is about 70 pages, and consumed all my spare time for a couple years.  It’s available for only $1.99 and I’d love for you to read it.

Purchase MIGHTY

Wish me luck as I prepare for Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland this weekend!  I’ll have an update for you when I get back!


Old News

This blog has taken the place of my “news” section from my website.  For old news/posts, take a look:

NEWS  7/1/08 – 4/3/11

PROCESS: Gary: Ch3, Pg22

I recently posted the final page of Gary, Chapter 3.  I thought I’d walk through my process from concept to inks.

First, I’m a freak for Microsoft Excel. As Gary is based on the story of the real-life Green River Killer, I find that having the structure of real facts can help drive the creative process.  My spreadsheet fetish probably deserves its own post, but for now take a look at my chapter outline, which is only part of the larger spreadsheet of facts/dates/people…

Here I outline specific events/moments that I want to explore in each chapter and page, making note of dates, people involved, and the design scheme.  Since I jump around a lot chronologically, this really helps me to make sure I’ve got certain ‘facts’ right and that dates match up.  As the piece progresses, you’ll hopefully see certain things start to match up.

Next I do thumbnails in a moleskin notebook.  Its not the best paper for drawing, but it’s easy to carry.  The thumbnails are very rough and the paper quality doesn’t matter all that much.  If there is a pose or panel that I think may be difficult to draw, I’ll usually work up a few drafts of it in my sketchbook as well. Usually anything involving hands or vehicles takes a bit of work.

Next I measure out the page.  I draw on Strathmore 14″ x 17″ Bristol.  Smooth Finish.  I’ve used this paper for about 8 years now and its fantastic.  Perfect for pencil and ink.  I use the standard industry 10.5″ x 15″ size for Gary.

Then I start pencilling, using my thumbnails and sketchbook pages as reference.

Some panels I render really really rough, and work out the details after I’ve started inking.  Other panels need a lot of re-working before I can start inking, or they would just be a mess.

Then inking starts!  Inking is the ultimate zen for me.  I oftentimes rush to this part of the process (at the expense of the pages, unfortunately) because I enjoy it so much.  Most of my inking is done with brush.  I use these guys:

LEFT: Windsor Newtown #2 Round Water Colour Sable, RIGHT: Robert Simmons White Sable #0, 785

These are pretty easy to find and not SUPER expensive.  They last me through at least 20-40 pages before I see any decline in the quality.  I use Higgins Black Magic ink, because I can’t seem to find anything decent anymore.

After the brushwork is done, I usually cut the edges off the page and do some cleanup and detail work with pens.  Things like the shovel on this page or vehicles and buildings are typically all pen work.  I use Pilot Razor pens most of the time, but will occasionally break out an Itoya or Micron.

Then it’s off to the computer!  I’ll share more on that portion of the process another time.  I hope you’ve found this interesting.  To see how the page turned out, read chapter 3 from start to finish:


Thanks for reading!  See you in about a week!

– Tyrell