Producing the art for ElfQuest: Wild Hunt.

In general, the strategy here is to plan your layout and composition,
then create a tighter version and/or color comps,
then execute the final.
This is not like the end-all be-all in comic book production by any means.
To be sure, there are more efficient ways to do this...

Click on the pictures to the left to view them larger.

In general, once I've received a working script, I proceed to sketch out the layouts in thumbnail sizes from 2.5"x4 to 6"x9" depending on how things go with each page. The size doesn't matter, so long as the ideas are jotted down as quickly as possible. This is a very important stage because a LOT of the thought-processes happen here. At this stage, characters are positioned in their places; circles for heads, maybe a hint of eyes and mouth. This particular thumbnail has facial expressions that eventually made it to the final version.
From the Thumbnail, I make a Rough--which is a tighter version of the thumbnail at100% of comic book size. Here final adjustments are noted (like 'scoot over' or 'bloody hands') so that the final pencils can be made accordingly.
The Rough is then enlarged 166% or 165% and traced onto 2-ply bristol board using a pencil. I don't get my work inked anymore (I only did it on the first issue I've ever done and only on some pages). At this critical stage, I have to make sure my lines are clean and strong. The only things I render are hair and small pieces of costume that are 'black' -- and even then, sometimes I forget and miss a it's taken care of on the final render. :)
Shadow Guide
The Pencils are then scanned into the computer and printed out. I then take a colored marker, preferrably a light-colored marker or highlighter, and block out the areas that will be in shadow or places that will be all black (I avoid muddying up the pencilled board with too much graphite). I also put in notes about what time of day it is so that the color of the sky and background can be worked out. Then one of the guys would use this guide to do the rendering. The pages I set aside for myself -- like collages and complex scenes are done in straight without the shadow guides (since I do the shadow guides myself, why spend the time doing it on paper when it could be done straight into the computer?). How do I know where to put the shadows? Experience and study (maybe later, on another section, I can go over this part in more detail).
Shadow Layer
This is what the completed shadow layer looks like. From this point, it's almost 'paint by number', where the costume 'colors' are added onto a separate layer. Really, this is all done in black and white! So I guess I should say 'grays' are added on. Then special effects are added and the background 'colored' in as per time of day or weather conditions. There are times when I don't get a time of day specified in the script, so I take a real good guess (or consult with the Editor and/or Writer). But oftentimes, my guesses are good enough. :) (lucky!)
And here we have the finished page. To find out what's going on. . . . read the book! =D

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Go to development sketches of WildHunt character costumes.

Go to my pictures page of some more artwork.

Go to the page that talks about what I'm doing or have done

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I'd like to hear from you.

Web Page Copyright © 1998 Lorraine R. McLees
Illustrated by Lorraine Reyes
Last updated 8.14.01.

ElfQuest: Wild Hunt © Warp Graphics