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'FURNACE' piece to be part of Cass Art's 'Wild and Civilized' illustration exhib

Page 69 of my upcoming graphic novel 'The Furnace' (Tor Books, July 2018) will be part of Cass Art's 'Wild and Civilized' illustration exhibition at their London flagship store, 16 - 30 May, 2017.

Here I want to walk you through what was involved in putting this piece (and all the 190 pages of 'The Furnace') together.

Step 1: Initial thumbnail:

This is about 2 inches wide and 3 inches high, pencil on bond paper--just inspirational, figuring out where the elements (both drawn and text) will fit on the page.

Step 2: Thumbnail #2:

This is about 5 inches high, pencil on bond paper. Fleshing out the characters and background elements. That's gonna be the Santa Monica Pier in the distance--I put a note to myself to research its appearance.

Step 3: Final pencils:

This is 10 inches wide and 15 inches high. I enlarged thumbnail #2 with a xerox machine to that size, taped it to the back of a piece of 4-ply bristol board, and used a lightbox to create these final pencils. I used images of the Santa Monica Pier found on the internet to make the BG semi-accurate. The arrows in the sky ('X' means dark and 'L' means light) indicate the general direction of shading transitions.

Step 4: Inks:

This is the image that will be in the Cass show. The ink was put right onto the final pencils, so it's ten inches wide and 15 inches high. I used black india ink and a Hunts 102 crowquill pen to ink the characters, water and anything else organic, technical pens for the fine crosshatching and linework in the sky, and white ink with toothbrush for the spatter effect in the sky.

A detail from the final inks--crowquill pen and technical pen.

Another detail--brush, techinical pen, white ink and toothbrush.

Step 5: Corrected inks:

I originally intended 'The Furnace' to be published in black and white--hence the basic density of the art. To punch it up even further, I scanned it into Photoshop and added a subtle gray gradient in the upper sky, and lightened other elements of the sky. This particular page is all about foreboding--I wanted the two main characters to be visually crushed by that sky.

Step 6: Color:

In the end it was decided that 'The Furnace' would be in color after all; the whole thing was colored using Manga Studio.

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