I made a new sketch comic cover this week for the first time in months. I’ve been buying blank sketch covers all that time but not drawing on them because I got bored with the whole concept. The concept being making a drawing on the cover of the comic that has something to do with the comic. That’s generally how sketch covers are done. I found that restricting and since nobody cares about my sketch comic covers anyway why was I bothering trying to please anyone with the expected? So I decided to make one of my own drawings on the cover. One that had nothing to do with the comic inside. It became a totally different process and took a whole lot longer than any of my previous ones.

First off I had to decide what I wanted to draw. I pulled out a bunch of drawings from my stockpile of drawings, looked through them, but couldn’t find anything I liked. Then I looked over at a couple of drawings that I made for my YouTube channel and they seemed perfect for what I wanted to do. I scanned in the two 5×7 marker drawings plus the blank comic book cover and put them all together into one file so I’d have a template to draw on. Since there were logos and such on the cover I could have any drawing those areas. This was the stage to figure that out. After I got the two drawing in place on the template I turned then into blue lines and printed them out on a 9×12 inch piece of bristol paper. This is the pencil drawing stage.

This part is straight forward. Using the blue lines as an underdrawing guide I redraw the whole thing in pencil. This is where I have to make everything work. I have to turn the two drawings into one drawing and make sure every part of the drawing is thought about and works. The 5×7 inch sketches that I was working from were spontaneous ink drawings and as such were far from finished drawings. They’re made to just get ideas on paper and not work about getting everything perfect. Now was he stage for getting everything perfect. Or at least pretty good.

After I finished the pencil drawing I scanned it in and blew it up a little bit in Photoshop to get it to the correct size. Here is where things get a little bit different from my usual process. Normally I would turn the pencil drawing into blue lines, print out the blue lines on bristol paper, and then ink and color the blue line pencils. Since I was working on a comic book sketch cover that is actually attached to a comic book I couldn’t print in blue lines. A comic book won’t go through my ink jet printer. So I had to transfer the drawing a different way. I chose graphite paper.

I find graphite paper useful but annoying. It’s paper with graphite attached to one side of it so as you imaging it can get messy. I put the paper graphite side down on the blank cover and taped my correct sized printout of the pencil drawing on top of the graphite paper. Then I get a hard-leaded pencil, a 2H, and trace the drawing. The pressure of the pencil point transfers the graphite on the graphite paper onto the blank comic nook cover. Unfortunately the pressure of my hand on the paper can also transfer some graphite on the sketch cover. Tracing the entire drawing plus keeping things clean usually takes more effort than I want it to. But it’s still a lot less effort than redrawing the whole thing. I also drew on both the front and the back cover. So that’s twice as much drawing as the other ones I made where I just drew on the front cover.

The next stage was inking. But first I have to mention that since I was working on both the front and back covers of the comic I taped it down to a larger 14×17 inch piece of paper. That way the comic would not get too battered moving around my desk as I drew on it. That worked out well as the corners of the paper got dinged up but not the corners of the comic book. I used my sign pen filled with India ink and some French curves to ink most of the cover. Then I went in with a brush and ink for the parts that weren’t geometric. I ended up with a nice black and white ink drawing that I scanned in just to save before I added color.

The color on this piece is all Copic marker but I have to use a different technique than I usually do. When I user marker on bristol paper it really absorbs into the paper. I can keep adding layers of marker stroker on the paper and build up pigment. This sketch cover paper is much less pours and the ink sits on top of it rather than sinking in so much. I can’t load the paper with as much pigment. I have to avoid my normal layering method and wait a moment or two longer than I usually would for the marker to dry. After the color I hit it with some more black ink since the color lifted some of that off.

As you can see my drawing has nothing to do with the JLA. I used the woman and her crazy hat for the cover and the big headed freaky looking guy for the back. Maybe they can be super heroes of some kind. They do all look weird and are dressed in costumes. The guy all the way on the right might even be a giant. That’s it, they’re some kind of alternate world Justice League.

No matter who they are I like the way this cover came out. It was sort of serendipitous that I was able to make a couple of drawing that were only drawn so that I could make a video of drawing into a finished piece. I’m happier with it than my other sketch cover too. I’m just better are drawing my own things rather than someone else’s things.