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diablo2003's avatar

New X-Men page process

I get a lot of requests to show the raw pencils or the raw inks as well as requests to see tutorials so i thought I would try and fill all the requests by showing the page process as it goes from layout to pencils to inks and then colors. I'm using the last page of New X-Men #20 since it's got a nice big image and should be the most interesting to see in progress.
STEP 1- Layout. This is a really small rough drawing(generally 8”X5”) done in about 15 or 20 minutes just so I can see how the page should be laid out and where everything will go. I'm not really concerned about all the little details at this point because this is only for me and not generally going to be seen by anyone else. Think of it as a blueprint for what’s to come.
STEP 2- pencils. Depending on how much I like the layout I’ll either scan the layout in and blow it up to 11X17, print it, and lightbox the outline onto my comic board or I’ll simply draw the page from scratch using my layout as reference. If I light box it, I’ll usually do it with a non-photo blue pencil and then add all my details very lightly with a size 2h lead pencil. Once everything is where I’d like it to be I go back through with a size H and HB to tighten it up. A lot of times I’ll add little ‘X’s to the areas that I’d like filled in with black by the inker. This saves time for me and keeps the inker from having to erase a whole bunch.
STEP 3- inks. I send the page out via FedEx to my inker Jaime Mendoza. Jaime takes the page and goes over it adding the contour lines and spotted blacks that give the page a lot of depth. If you look at the difference between the pencils and inks you’ll see that Jaime added a lot of chaser lines and make my flat pencil marks go from thick to thin depending on the lighting. He’ll also add additional textures like the cracks around the ground and marks on the figures body. Jaime is an amazing inker and I think it’s evident by all the fine little touches he added to this page.
STEP 4- colors. Once finished Jaime scans the piece in and sends it over to Brian Reber so he can finish the page up. Brian first determines where the light source is coming from and begins laying down light and dark shades accordingly. In this case the light is coming from the doorway so Brian adds a really nice gradient light coming from the lover right to the top left. He also fills on some of the shadows that weren’t evident in the inks like the shadow of Emma falling across Jay’s legs. He’ll also add textures to give the piece a more real feel like the stone look to the sidewalk and a liquidy shine to the blood. Brian also incorporates a beautiful color palette so the piece pops while still being gritty and dingy. Color choice is just as important as technique so should be focused on just as much. Once Brian is done he sends the page via FTP site over to Marvel to be lettered and printed.
The process goes on all month long until we’ve done this 22 times for each book. It sounds time consuming (and it is) but you find that it gets easier the more you do it. Hope you found this enjoyable and let me know if you have any questions and I’ll try to edit it into the description.

Also, I still have my 2005 sketchbooks available to anyone that wants one. Read my latest journal entry and send an e-mail to if you’d like one!

Thanks for looking!
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Power-of-Passion's avatar
Soooo... What would you say is a good size for beginner comic artists to draw their pages without any scanning-related danger, and without risk of loosing quality after blowing up the drawing?
This is something that has been worrying me because my original sketches and stuff are almost the size of A4 office/computer paper.
I've been experimenting with diferente sizes, but i'm still not so sure...
This is amazing to see, thanks for sharing. Very inspiring
Mark, could you make (or point me to) a hair line art tutorial that covers the successful types and methods of comicbook style hair? I'm a graphite artist in the habit of using tones and find it hard to define hair with mere lines.
AuroraArt's avatar
Amazing work! I would definitely love to work with you guys in the comic industry someday! Keep up the amazing work!
Ianisnothome's avatar
This is one of my favorite scenes
rebeky55's avatar
I am interested in having a relationship with you,My name is rebecca I will appreciate it if you write back to me ( so that we can communicate and move from here.Hope to hear from you.
I love a good tutorial nice work
discipleneil777's avatar
Yeah, scan at 600dpi, send ftp or e-mail, then the inker can print it out and ink it. Seems like that process would be better and faster. :p
soumyadham's avatar
gr8 work.
i'm new in digital coloring.
i'd like 2 know how it's done?
gkb3rk's avatar
why you re sending by cargo why dont you just scan it and send e-mail the high res version???????
darkchaosempress's avatar
wow,this is gorgeous..iv been looking through you'r gallery all morning, ur ma hero dood, thnx for the inspiration too^^
3Ali's avatar
great technique
Gwin27's avatar
wow i'm sure you here this alot but ur really good
mira-mcgrath's avatar
this is awesome. thank you for sharing the process. it looks amazing
Atariel91's avatar
-shudder- hate it when they kill off characters in comics. but hell, you drew it well :P
DemonShuriken87's avatar
Coollness, major coollness. So are you employed by marvel? I was just wondering since I'm thinking of sending my best of the best works in, some pencil, some ink, mostly color stuff, and see what they think. The stuff I post on DA is kinda half assed sometimes, but i was just wondering, do you know if they're looking for new artists?

Great line art by the way. I can see why your a pencil artist.
Esteban84's avatar
This one is so cool, i managed to bought the comic (which is a very remarkable thing here in Colombia), and let me tell you, your art is too good to be true, loved the hole issue, and is great to see the process of it!.
psikographik's avatar
im very very speachless...
great work!!!!
xXFelidaeXx's avatar
I feel like I've seen this-read it- before, or at least something similar. It's been published, has it?
PropaGandhi101's avatar
very helpfull
thnx a bunch
chowmut's avatar
awesome coloring and detail :)

i think old styling of emma frost was so much hotter.. :)
omarvelazquez's avatar
mm interestign... great job and great (see it in process is very good)
Slothboy3000's avatar
I love your work. I really want to become a comic book artists myself (gotta keep practicing!), so this is really helpful to see the process of how it goes through and pick up on all the little details.

Thanks alot for sharing such awesome work! :)
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