"From there, I do bigger drawing about print size, 7x10 or so. I work out the composition and try to get the figures as tight as possible. I usually shoot some reference, which probably doesn't show too much. I get friends or family to pose my wife is really patient with this. I start with a 2b pencil over non-photo blue, and go back and forth between the reference and the drawing to get it as close as I can to the final. Working at print-size for my roughs also gives me a good sense of how the page will look in print."

"I then scan the thumbnail, blow it up to 10x5.25, and print it onto 2-ply Bristol board. Printing it very light saves me a ton of time in redrawing or light boxing. In this image I've spent about 15 minutes penciling. I've elongated Anna a bit to fit the space better."

"I got into the piece a little bit more, with non-photo blue to define the babies and water splashing, then add extra eyeballs, and start inking by contouring everything important with a flexible crow quill. I love crow quills but it takes me a long time to be even remotely comfortable with them. I like how if you change directions with them quickly, they spit a little ink. I think it's a little weird too, but I don't mark where I'm going to spot blacks. I just kind of guess what will feel right."

"This stage is my favorite, where a piece really comes alive. Hopefully, from stage 3 I have a little bit of an idea where my light sources are, so I can go crazy with the blacks now. I go crazy with ink and implements. I try to keep in mind how the blacks will lead your eye through a page. Lately I've been using crow quills, a copic .003 liner, a calligraphy felt maker, a 00 round synthetic sable brush, and a flat discount bin brush (it was 2$ on sale). I flick a lot of ink around too. Once the black is all dried, I go back into it with Dr. Martins White ink. In this piece I drew a bunch: one water dripping, one splashing. At this point I'll throw in a few motion lines to add to the intensity of the action, such as the lines around Anna's head, that also help our eyes to move from the top of the page down to Morley and the baby explosion. I also use my fingers to push around ink a bit too. I think fingerprints make a great texture."

"The first color stage might seem like a big jump, but this is only 30 minutes work from stage 4. I scan the finished inks, which usually are much too gray for my taste, and adjust them till they're black enough for me. I work in a RGB image mode. I find it gives the most flexibility in coloring. After I scan the inked image, I do flat colors that I keep on as few layers as possible in Photoshop. Since I color my own work it gives me freedom to adjust things without having to communicate with a colorist. I fix stuff as I go. I'm not the best at picking colors so I try to keep a limited palette. For this page, just blue, yellow/green, and red highlights. More than three colors and it really starts to slow me down trying to keep track of them."

"Now I add spice to the image, mostly textures. I have a library of textures I can use. For this piece, I used a half tone to knock back a few spots, particularly on Anna's stomach where it gives some depth. I also added a water color texture to the piece. Finally I put white spatter over everything, to give the page an extra-snowy quality."

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Image Comics Exclusive: GREEN WAKE Artistic Process

Date: 28 November 2011 Time: 02:48 PM ET
With Green Wake #7 in stores this week, Riley Rossmo, artist of the Image Comics series, joins us to showcase his artistic process and give us a little bit of behind-the-scenes info on how he creates a page.

Without further ado, here's Rossmo:

"My process is mostly about getting rough pencils onto the board large enough so I can ink comfortably, and not worry about proportions or redrawing panels too much. That way I can focus on the expressive nature of my marking. I've altered the conventional pencils, inks, colors, to suit my flow of work. It goes something like this:

I work really small to start, maybe at 1x2 inches to figure out compositions. I usually only do a couple of these compositions a page. For a splash page I might do a few more."

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