Joe was nice enough to walk us through the creative process for the cover art of the first Infinite Comic. Here are his notes for each stage. Click "Expand" in the bottom right corner of each image for a higher resolution, uncropped version.
This image shows how I made certain that the blurred space backgrounds played well one into the next as well as the forward movement and twist of the character in space.
Now after all the prelim work is done, it's time to get to the real work, DRAWING! Here's a very loose gesture drawing the first Nova panel scribbled in Photoshop.
Now in Sketchbook, my favorite drawing app, I work my way to final pencils. Keep in mind that for expediency sake, I'm skipping over several steps that get me to this tight pencil stage. Trust me, I'm saving from the boring stuff.
Here are the finished inks done in Photoshop. When you ink, do not, I repeat, DO NOT use the brush tool, use the pencil. The brush will give you a soft line that will look horrible in print. Also, when inking in Photoshop it'll appear as though some of the lines are pixilated, but they will smooth out in print as long as you are inking at a decent resolution. I usually ink at 600 dpi and then reduce it down to 400 for print purposes.
Here's my loose gesture drawing for the next panel. Let me just say it out loud, Nova's helmet is a bitch to draw. My hard drive is litter with rejected versions of the helmet.
Speaking of tough to draw, some days are green days and the pencil can't be stopped, anything you want to draw seems to come to you magically. It's like a baseball player when he's on a hot streak. And then there are days when nothing seems to be working. I don't care if your Leonardo da Vinci or, John Romita, Jr., everyone has a bad day (actually I'll bet JR JR never had). On the day I was drawing this panel I was struggling to get the arm just right. That's when I resort to the artist's best friend, photo reference*. Thanks to my faithful iSight Camera I just snap a quick pick of my flabby arm and away we go.
Final inks. For those wondering, because I was under tremendous dealing pressure, in order to nail the circular graphics on Nova's costume, I simply built the circles in Photoshop and then edited them in TRANSFORM using the EDIT tool. Ahhh who am I kidding, even without the deadline I would have done it this way.
This angle was a huge pain to draw. In order to nail it I took a picture of myself laying on the floor. While my legs are sexy as hell, the rest of me is too out of shape to show the photo. Sorry kids, I can't demystify everything.
Final inks, for the speed lines I used Manga Studio EX4, they have a great perspective tool designed just for these occasions.
Finally the pencils for the Phoenix. Let me add that this may very well be the first time anyone has drawn the Phoenix from the underside and while I thought of it, I avoiding drawing its junk.
Final inks… PHEW, time to sleep.