JLI cover #2…How I Did it!

I thought it might be mildly interesting and possibly even informative if I posted one of my comic covers and the steps I go through to get from layout to final image.   I was going to start with the cover to Justice League International #1 ( it makes sense to start with the first, right?) but looking through my digital records I found that I don’t have scans of all of the steps.  So, I am going to start with issue #2 because I do have scans of all of the steps and visual aids are always essential to any good artist’s blog!

Like with any cover I do, I got content directions from the editor.  Since I have to do covers 3 months in advance of the comic for preview listings, often times there is no script to work from.  Since this was the launch of a new series a lot of the stories had been figured out so the  editor was able to give me clear instructions of what he was looking for on the cover.  I did three 8.5X11 “thumbnail” sketches for the editor to choose from.


The editor chose option #1.  Because option #1 was so reliant on the lighting contrast, I drew it in ink so the editor would get a better idea of what I was going for.  Once the choice was made I was given instructions to add Batman and Guy Gardner to the composition.  I then did a full size rough (which was actually pretty tight) and incorporated the additional characters.


Once this got approved, I used a light table to trace the image on to the final art board and made some minor changes along the way.  I took this to a final pencil where all the details were added.  Even though I ink my own covers, I usually do the pencils very tight so I don’t have anything to chance in the inking stage.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a scan of the finished pencil to show.

Once the penciling was done, I used a brush and micron pens to ink the art.  In this case I used mostly brush except on the tech parts of the robots hand.


And there you have it.  The final black and white product.  If I have time in my schedule I will color my covers but in this case someone else did the honors.  I follow this process in every cover I do.  Since it is the most important image of the book, redrawing several times is not uncommon for me.  I want to make sure it looks as good as I can make it.

2 thoughts on “JLI cover #2…How I Did it!

  1. Great post Aaron. I love to see the process and collaboration needed to create covers. Curious how much you use tools like Photoshop or even pen displays as part of your day to day? Thanks

    • Not much actually. Every once and awhile I will use photoshop to enlarge or shrink a part of a cover or page but mostly it is just me doing it the old fashioned way. Of course, I scan and do clean up in photoshop so I guess I use it on a daily basis but not much for the actual creation of the art.

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