Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tim's Action Comics #18 Cover

A couple'a weeks ago, I painted this comic book cover for Carol & John's Comic Book Shop to commemorate 75 years of Superman, and the city where he was created (Cleveland, Ohio).

...and to sate your morbid curiosity (you know its true), I have a whole bunch of photos detailing the creation of this cover.

The fresh unadulterated sketch cover 

I photocopied the cover and did all my initial sketches on cheap crappy Bond paper (to not ruin the actual cover). The goal was to draw "Superman and Cleveland", so I figured that Sups' would also enjoy one of my favorite spots in the city (with a slightly better vantage point), the statues overlooking the Lorrain-Carnegie (or Hope Memorial if your new to town) Bridge.  

 At this point, I decided that I really really hated the modern "New 52" logo and branding, and I wanted to use the masthead from 1939, so after finding the appropriate reference (, I mocked up everything in photoshop and printed it out on more bond paper.

I taped down the comic to my board, masked it off to keep the rest of the comic clean, and then gessoed  on front cover...

I then covered the backside of the mockup printout with soft (9B-ish) graphite, and taped it to the board, over the front cover...

and traced over the taped down mockup with a ballpoint pen...

then, when I peeled back the paper, I was left with a clean graphite transfer on my cover.

The next step was painting the cover, I'm using acrylic paint mainly because it dries fast, and it's water soluble (so no mineral spirits smell). I covered it in a warm yellow ground because: a) I hate starting with a white page, and b) because this painting needs to be warm and fun.   

After the ground dries, I start painting in some of my shadows (seen on the staute's face) using thin coats of a darker color (but not black, using plack paint for your darks will dull your colors, so I use a "Burnt Umber" or "Raw Siena", NO black was used in this painting).

The painting is built up gradually this way, with thin coats of paint, moving from background to foreground, and you start adding in lighter colors to define your highlights. 

The retro masthead is painted in, everything is allowed ample time to dry, and then I apply an acrylic varnish to even out the paint and make it shinny and cool.

The comic is CAREFULLY removed from the board. I used drafting tape, but even that isn't 100% perfect when you're removing it, so steady hands and a trusty x-acto knife are crucial.

Thanks for sticking with this, I hope you enjoyed the ride. If you're in the Cleveland area, you can see the actual painting, and tons of other fantastic covers at Carol & John's Comic Shop.


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