Everyone has different ways of making a comic book. But all of us follow the same general steps to bring a comic book page to life. There are four main steps: Pencils, Inks, Flat colors and Final colors. I thought it’d be fun to show one page from the second book in the Stinky Cecil series, Stinky Cecil in Terrarium Terror, as it goes through this transformation.
Step 1: Pencils
Like most cartoonists, I loosely pencil each page of the book. This the “story” phase of the book where I’m figuring out how much text and art will appear on each page. Every page needs to have the right balance of text and art so that you move the story forward at a good pace. The goal is to have each page be visually interesting on its own, but to fit well into the larger story. The penciling phase is probably the most important phase of all.
Step 2: Inks
Inking is probably the most fun for me. This is the stage where I solidify the look of the characters and sharpen their facial expressions.
Step 3: Flat colors
I work with my friend Jose Flores on coloring. I send Jose the inked pages and he sends back flat colors. Basically this means that he assigns a color to each shape that I’ve inked. At this stage, the coloring isn’t final he’s just creating shapes to make the final color easier.
Step 4: Final colors
At this point I create the final look of the page in full color. I change the colors to match the rest of the book and I also add shadowing and texture. It’s really fun to see a finished page come to life.
Happy comic book drawing and reading!