Welcome back to THE COMMENTARY TRACK, the regular feature at CBR in which we invite creators to stop by and talk about their most recent releases, often in spoiler-filled detail. Go behind the scenes and into the minds of your favorite creators and flip through their comics with them.
In this special edition of The Commentary Track, comic book superstar and fan-favorite artist J. Scott Campbell and mega-talented colorist Nei Ruffino take us step-by-step through their process behind creating the cover art for the first issue of Zenescope's popular "Beyond Wonderland" comic book series, from Campbell's very first concept sketch to the final piece colored cover Ruffino sent to the printer.
Commentary by J. Scott Campbell and NeI Ruffino
Step 1: My initial thumbnail sketch. These have become smaller and smaller over the years in an effort to draw faster. This little sketch is only about 3" in height.
Step 2: After scanning that initial sketch, it's scaled up to 11" x 17" using my computer and re-printed back out so that I can quickly outline trace my initial 3" drawing using a light-table.
Step 3: This is an example of what the initial line-work looks like during the light-boxing process. As you can see, I'm already beginning the process of cleaning up the anatomy and building an overall more consistent and structured figure compared to the first rough sketch.
Step 4: The pencils from the now finished light-boxing process.
Step 5: Using a Magic Rub eraser, I erase the entire page using a medium touch, not too much, but enough to rid the white page of any of the harsh dark lines while leaving a noticeable structured ghost image to build my final drawing from.
Step 6: Here, you can see the additional structure, detail and other elements that I've gone ahead and taken the time to add in, post light-box.
Step 7: And after a second round of erasing, being carful to once again leave ghost lines, I begin the process of creating what will be my final line-work. During this stage I'm pressing down pretty hard on the pencil to get a nice clean line. This step continues on for about a day, until I end up with my final finished pencil line-work. From here, a digital inker will make my artwork appear like inked black lines (Step 8).
At this point, colorist NeI Ruffino takes over the creative process, as well as the commentary.
Step 9: This step is just flats, no shading or rendering at all, just me laying out the color scheme I want to use.
Step 10: I worked backwards on this cover to make sure the objects furthest back stayed looking that way. At this point, the background is mostly finished.
Step 11: Most of the background is now done. I just have the characters left!
Step 12: And last, we have the final product!