(click to view larger image)
I have a comic in SpongeBob Comics #17, now available on the shelves of your local comics shops. It's a great issue, with a choose-your-own adventure comic, so be sure to snatch yourself a copy.
Now for some process, for anyone who's curious. It all starts with a pitch. This time I was invited by editor Chris Duffy to pitch a 2-page spread related to jelly-fishing. I write in pictures, so below are some of my early ideas for gags and the layout of the illustration.
My thinking was to use a large jelly hive to contain cutaway-view panels—so that you could follow SpongeBob's journey room-to-room, reading left to right. Once the concept was approved, I started to block in shapes and forms, keeping in mind important restrictions like the page fold. I drew right on top of a print-out of the page guides.
And then I did an additional refined sketch on paper. I worked in enough detail to get approval on the drawing before I started inking.
At one point I was going to do it all brush-on-paper, but I'd inked a lot of my recent SpongeBob comics in Flash, and decided that would be the best route. (These days I'm doing most of my inking in Manga Studio.) I'm pretty sure I worked in Flash MX, even though this screenshot is CS3. I work on a layers for different items (separating characters from the background, just to organize things for any adjustments). I keep the sketch layer on the bottom.
And below are my final inks. (You can click this one to view large)
At this point I bring everything into Photoshop, where I do all my coloring. I archived an early color step, blocking in the characters and basic color ideas.
Then I go in and polish everything up. I used colored lines, which is an added step of work. The printed version includes dialogue panels and labels for each room of the jelly hive—added after I deliver my final file.
One of the wild things about publishing is that sometimes it can take a year for what you draw to make it to print. I started working on this comic in January of 2012, so it's great to finally see it in crisp printed form. Nothing beats it! Though, it's admittedly looking pretty old to me. Thanks for reading!