Creating Comics Panel by Panel
Freaks & Gods Page 5 by Chris Dreier
Now we’re on page 5 of the Tales of the Dark Tunnel Exclusive comic. We start with the pencils where a tank is transforming into a giant robot (because they do that). I liked this in-between look. So I used the “polygon selection” tool and selected all the black areas and filled it black. I used a tone to add shape and shading and simple line work. Overall, it turned out nice; it has a feeling of movement which is what I wanted to convey.
Here’s the top of the page. Again, I used the “polygon selection” tool to make the shapes of the tank. I used a larger “felt tip” marker and went back and forth to fill the selection. That leaves random gaps and clear lines in the black areas…it just adds character, I think.
More of the inks done, car, fire, and tree in the background and of course the blasting. As per usual the blasts are on separate layers so I can adjust their color later.
The finished panel. Of course, I see the buildings and people are over the pencils of Atoman on the left side, but you should always ink (or draw) through just to make sure it looks correct. I added the group of people in the back. I felt the scene needed to be a bit more chaotic.
Back to the bottom of the page. This is a panel showing some of the carnage left behind from this attack. I started with some black areas then moved to the individuals.
The close-up is to show how the line work changes for what type of object I’m inking. His clothing is torn, tattered and probably burned in some spots. The line work needs to reflect that. Sharper corners and uneven lines on the fabric can help sell that illusion. It’s something I keep in mind every time I’m inking. My job is not to trace so the colorist has lines to stay in between, an inker’s job to make rock look like rock, hair like hair and so on. I have never inked a page differently because it was going to be color or black and white.
Of course buildings are no different from anything else. I did not use any line tool on this panel because I wanted it to look uneven, broken, and smashed. I used the felt tip marker on this to keep it looking rigid. A brush might soften the edges and overall feel. Lots to keep in mind but it becomes second nature before you know it. Adding textures can really bring your work up a notch
The first panel has Atoman floating above the ground. I wanted him above the road looking down on the tank. So I moved some items around and added the background I wanted. I used the perspective ruler to create the street and to ink it. More on that ruler next week.
So with all the other layers hidden, I started inking Atoman, working on the contour first…mostly.
Finished inks of Atoman. As you can see I masked off (not deleted) the other layers on the right. To keep his emblem consistent I created a material that I drop onto the canvas and “warp” to get it to lay correctly. Probably overkill, but it’s little details that matter.
The finished top and bottom half of page 5. I did change the colors of some of the background layers to help sell the illusion of distance.
Thanks so much for checking out my Panel by Panel and hope to see you next week for page 6…a giant robot splash page.
Writer, Artist, Inker, Colorist
His career as an inker over the past twenty years had him working with Antarctic Press, Chaos Comics, AC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Avatar Press, IDW, SkyStorm Studios, and Joe Books. Chris is currently working on his creator-own project Freaks & Gods.