Moon: Build Up to a Comic Book Cover: Part 1

Welcome to the first stages of a very effective comic book cover (we hope). Some years ago I saw something very, very similar between two major characters of some very famous toy brand that had been put out as a fairly successful British comic book. The image seared into my head as one of the strongest images I’d ever seen. As such I have shamelessly sought to use it’s basic premise on the pages of Moon 2.

Covers are probably the most difficult part of the whole process. Something that effectively says what’s going on inside without giving the game away, grabs attention from a distance and holds up well under scrutiny. All this and it always has to carry numbers and titles (and maybe a review and occasionally -though not ideally – a barcode). It takes a tonne of thought and trial and error and has been the focus of my attention for some time.

With the artwork for Moon 2 complete we are beginning to move into the final stages of production (finally). This is a relief and I have to say I’m proud of the content – more so as I see the lettering and colouring come into existence. It’s at this point it becomes easier to figure out what artwork sums up all the takes place inside.

This is stage 1: Pencils, inks, lifted from the page by Photoshop and the basic layer of Moon image (applied on external and high detail images of Moon) to finish off what is effectively nothing but a neck in a suit up until this point.

These lines are with Iv and she will no doubt lovingly finish them off ready for the final page – something I personally can’t wait for. Stage 2 Next week.

Moon and Ray : Scrapbook of a Career

Moon and Ray have the promise of being the greatest agents in the history of the Agency. Ray was one of the finest new recruits back in the 70s. With the successful arrest of long-time hibernating crack pot Spring Heeled Jack, loose once again on the streets of London, using a carefully placed set of trampolines and a long range paintball gun – the chief of the time decided to team the young Barton with their most experienced agent. The rest as they say, is history. In future more of Ray and Moon’s adventures will be revealed – whether it be dealing with Space Nazis on Icy Tundra or postal tea ladies at Buckingham Palace – there will always be a place in the hall of fame for Moon and his long time partner Ray. All he has to do is survive the events of Moon 2….

Sketch week!!

Not all of the work we do at Beyond the Bunker makes it up on to the site. These are the delirious, subconscious scratchings of an artist fighting to finish our title, Moon 2 in time for our proposed deadline. Still, I took a minute to knock this up to show – I dunno – some of the stuff lying around the work space at any given moment. More random pieces of artwork will be appearing here very soon. Please keep an eye on Wednesdays for Beyond the Bunker Classic as well as some scraps to illuminate the edges of the work we do here at the Bunker.

Moon 2 colour tests

This week a look at the background work going on on Moon 2. There is a considerable amount of back and forth between the art department (read: Myself and Ivanna Matilla) about how to approach each scene with possible outcomes having to be balanced between what the story asks for, what we’re trying to achieve and bottom line; what looks cool. Continuing the palette from Moon 1 of course but the situation has worsened considerably for our adventurers. How do you colour that.

Iv is an incredibly reactive and quick colourist and rather than stooping to conquer, she stoops to colour and we’re eternally grateful for her input on this project. She certainly keeps me on my toes to the point where to question anything she does feels highly presumptive and frankly stepping above my station. Not because of her of course. She’s an upbeat delight. However, her sheer talent is enough to keep us on our toes.

The marking hasn’t gone on this one though. Any doubt is swiftly queried with the sure hand of a teacher (as you’d expect from Iv as an English teacher just outside Buenos Aires). On my Iphone, I keep the digital clocks for Buenos Aires and Cape Town (to keep track of things when I’m working with Fallen Heroes / Tales of the Fallen colourist Gat Melvyn) and although Buenos Aires is two hours behind, Ivanna Matilla is years ahead of the rest of us.

A genuine pleasure to work with.

Fallen Heroes 2, Page 1 in Full Colour

This just in! Gat Melvyn’s exceptional work on Page 1 of Fallen Heroes 2. More pages are currently in the works and frankly I cannae wait to see more of Gat’s finishes. There’s a coupla effects needed on this page but aside from that it’s ready to go. Work continues on the multiple titles due to come out over the next few months at Beyond the Bunker.com.

Moon 1.3 – the full process

Moon Page 3. Perhaps the image that went through one of the most extensive additional design work. It passed backwards and forwards between myself and Iv as a black and white, a colour and finally a graphically enhanced image. As it is effectively a one panel page it was a great opportunity to stretch ourselves a little and Page 3 is probably one where I genuinely feel the finished product appeared as it had originally been attended. It also confirmed that myself and Iv knew what we were doing… (at least vaguely)

The original inks. Drawn over pencil line work to decide layout and composition and the finer details. Fairly basic stuff. A detailed description of what we were looking for was sent over to Iv.

Iv applied her own artistry to the page, adding her own ideas to the tones and hues – something she always does really well. In particular, the decision to take the plain black of the sky behind and make it a more interesting blue. The figures at the base of the main image were intended to be uplit red / yellow. However Iv lit them blue to tie them together with the main image and not undermine the central Moon deity figure. It also sets apart beautifully the main abstract poster image and the bottom panel. These are her colours as they were returned back to us before I got my greasy mitts all over them again. Iv is an unnaturally talented colourist and a pleasure to work with.

Next some graphics to enhance the basic colours. Taking existing constellations, one is a lifted selection from astronomoical photography and the other is painted digitally using the template of the original constellation taken from a low res image. I think this one is in CMYK (the standard format you have to put it in to go to print – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black (K for some reason)) so the colours are bleeding and the colour map has altered slightly but it is still the same image as the others….

… and slap on some lettering using Illustrator and finishing in Photoshop by creating layers and slicing and placing elements behind the central figure. Otherwise the linking branch of the speech bubble would really detract. Et voila. Page 3 of Moon 1. More of the same coming soon. Danke.

When Artists Collide: Moon line work to colour (Penfold to Matilla)

Ivanna Matilla enhanced massively the artwork in Moon 1 and is ready for more. Iv doesn’t need to work with us at this stage as she’s beginning to get the commissions she deserves. I was pleased to get good critiques on my pencil and ink work from comics editor for Clint Magazine, really great bloke with genuine interest in the scene – who even bought a copy of Moon to add to his collection. In many ways I’ve been aware since Iv’s reactions to some of my line work (constructive of course) that there was room for improvement and I’m stepping up for Issue 2 – you can see a style change and sharpening of the line work by the end of Moon 1, something that was confirmed by Frank Quitely as he flicked through his own copy.

BE BACK HERE ON THURSDAY FOR MASSIVE FALLEN HEROES NEWS! NEW CREATIVE TEAM AND NEW TITLE ANNOUNCED!!