Daredevil #22 Cover. 2012.
Ink(ed by Joe Rivera) on Marvel board, 11 × 17.25″.

I’m afraid I didn’t have time this weekend to finish my lengthy treatise on reference, so I hope this long-promised video will be some consolation. The cover to Daredevil #22 (final version pictured above) is a good example of my approach to a typical comic book cover. I’ve detailed all the major steps in a previous post (along with the accompanying Wacky Reference), but those are static images that leave out where the real work happens. Penciling and inking take a great deal of time, but they are merely rendering — the execution of a plan that was formed at an earlier, more important stage.

This is a bare bones, 11-minute video with no sound or editing, but I hope it can reveal some insights into how I work. At 20X speed, it represents over 3 hours work, all done on a Cintiq 12WX and later printed out on board to refine by traditional means. (The video is not complete, as my iCal records indicate about 5.5 hours in total.)

It’s a pretty straight forward time lapse, but there are 3 things that I’d like to point out as you watch. First, I use reference of my own hand to facilitate the drawing process. This photo is taken on the fly using Photo Booth on my iMac. It’s as easy as using a mirror, but with more options. Second, I employ a digital perspective template of my own design for the background. It’s extremely useful, but has a steep learning curve — I plan on releasing it to the public later this year. Lastly, toward the end of the video, you can see that I had trouble with Daredevil’s legs as he’s scaling Stilt-Man’s serpentine legs. The cover as a whole went pretty smoothly, but it took me a long time to find a pose for him that didn’t look totally awkward to me. Spidey, on the other hand, was a breeze — characters who are flying/falling are always easier to draw since they don’t have to interact with any other entities.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RN-k1EEcDA]

What you see below is the final digital sketch before moving on to the next stage. Printing this out in cyan, magenta, and yellow allows the automatic removal of the perspective guidelines and digital sketch in Photoshop, while leaving my pencils intact. This is sent to my Dad, Joe Rivera, who inks over a blue-line print of my pencils. Finally, I color his inks in Photoshop (a subject for a future post). It’s a lot of stages, but I find that a divide-and-conquer strategy makes the task much less daunting, especially under tight deadlines.

Digital Composite