7" Kara Cover Process

When completing the cover for 7" Kara , I knew I wanted to do the comic in watercolor, but I also wanted to test out a couple different style treatments, in case one really suited the comic better.  I've done a lot of work with Copics in the past, but never a comic (or even a comic cover), I knew that it would be a lot more challenging to keep colors harmonious through out an entire page than it is for a spot illustration.  I also wanted to do a black and white style test, as I know that a lot of publishers are hesitant to publish a color comic from a first time artist, particularly if it's in a medium as difficult to reproduce as watercolors are.

I don't have entire process documentation for any of these pages, but I thought it'd be nice to share what I do have, and explain my methods.  I believe I've done Copic process posts in the past, very little has changed since that, and I plan on doing several watercolor process posts in the future.  If I'm unclear about anything, just send me a comment or an email and I can do a mini tutorial to clarify what I've done.

I tightened up my bluelines, pulling in additional detail when necessary.

I've masked off the napkin, so I could easily ink in the grass without having to make corrections after.

Because I masked off the napkin, I didn't have to go back and make corrections after and the grass doesn't look like it stops right at the napkin.

Inked in the far background (behind the shed door).

A dry brush texture was applied to the concrete.

Page was masked off so I could apply a spatter to the pavement.

Finished piece, with blue tape removed.  The blue tape acts as a mask to keep my edges clean, but has a tendency to pull up the paper and cause damages.

Although you can marker straight over bluelines, I felt like it would be easier, and more attractive, to create a lineart for the piece first.  I did leave areas of less focus, like the dollhouse behind the shed door, unlined, to give it a softer feel.

From using watercolors, I've learned the importance of an all over wash for harmonizing color.  I've never tried to create a wash with Copic markers before, and have had trouble in the past keeping my color palette in check.  This time, I decided to attempt a 'wash', using a Copic Wide marker.  This was my first time using Copic Wide, and I found the color range to be frustratingly limited.  I ended up using a darker blue than I would have liked.  I also had a lot of trouble with streaking.  To remedy this, I applied many, MANY layers of Copic colorless blender (in both wide and using the Super Brush Tip) to smooth out the color.

As you can see, the wash tones any color above it (for example, the grey of the pavement).  While selecting colors, I took a lot of care to ensure that they were harmonious, even though I was also relying on a wash to tie everything together.
Here's a quick (and ugly) snapshot of my swatches for the cover.  As you can see, all of the tones run rather blue and relatively desaturated, even the reds.
The finished render.  
While completing the Copic version of the cover, I became acutely aware of how much ink a full page illustration would consume.  Although I love working with markers, I knew it would be more cost efficient to use watercolors instead, although color coordination would become more difficult.

Although this piece looks mostly finished, it's poorly pulled together, color wise.  I ended up spending a lot of time correcting the colors using additional washes and pencil colors.

Here's a side by side comparison of all three covers.

And here are the finished, color corrected final pieces.  As it stands, the marker piece is still the best pulled together, but I learned a lot doing all three pieces, and I feel like my experience with all three really helped shaped the resulting pages.

Wordcount: 703 Words


  1. Wow. They all look great. I'd have a hard time picking, given everything else was equal.


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