Friday, August 14, 2009


Since i've posted the first three pages of the new 28 Days later book, i thought i might show the steps i took to make them.

Obviously, first i read through the script a few times. Then, i take out my sketchbook and get started on the layouts. This is the most crucial stage, as this is where all the storytelling, composition, letter placement and problem-solving is figured out. It's the toughest stage, but also the most rewarding.

You can see i made a note of 'no hands' at the bottom of the second layout. I think i got carried away and thought the child looked in the tent first. Upon rereading the script i realized that was my own imagination, and that the football pops out of nowhere in the next page. You have to be very careful of details like that.

Layout pages 1-3 from my sketchbook

Then, instead of redrawing the whole image from scratch, i blow up the layouts and light-box them onto an A3 sized page. I do this in an effort to retain the spontaneity of the original layout. In the past, i've completely redrawn the image, but it always lost 'something'. I'm mush happier with the end page when it's as close to the original layout as possible.

As you can see, the drawing is much more fleshed-out; establishing proper light sources, folds in cloth, and just overall adding more detail. I do leave a lot of work to be figured out in the inking stage. For example, in the first page, you can see i just made a circle for the light from Selena's torch, leaving a lot of it to be worked out in the inks. Because i ink my own work, i like to leave a lot of embellishment for the inks, and have the pencils be mainly construction.

Full-sized pencilled pages 1-3

Finally, my favourite stage; Inking. I just enjoy the solid mark-making involved in inking so much; it's very satisfying. I try to be as loose as possible when i ink. All the detail added in the pencils can end up inked very scratchily, if that's a word. Basically, just because it's been pencilled doesn't necessarily mean it will be inked; it depends on whether i think it will look good or not.

In the case of page one, i actually ended up adding a lot of texture, especially in the last 2 panels. I'd drawn the basic forms in pencil, but waited til inking to properly work them out, using varying kinds of line, splatter from my brush/pen nib. I think i even went back to the 5th panel and added thumb-prints in white ink. In the second page, when i had done all the line-work, even with all the white space, i thought the environment didn't look 'snowy' enough, so i sprayed white ink all over the line-work, to break it up and add more atmosphere. When inking i now try and create as many 'happy accidents' as possible, ie, ending up with something on the page i wasn't planning on having, be it a loose line, or a blob of ink. It makes the pages look more like an interesting drawing, i think.

Finished inked pages 1-3

Well, there you have it. Pages 1-3 in all their stages and me prattling on about it. Hope you found it of some interest.



jamie said...

great artwork,dec.
can't think of a comic i've looked forward to more in years.

Kevin Mc Namara said...

Good stuff!

luke f said...

I`m reaaaaally liking the texture on those mountains in the middle page.

Gio said...

Great stuff dec, love finding out about a process as everyones is different. Do you mask off parts when you using the splatter?

Declan Shalvey said...

Thanks guys!

Gio; i actually don't really mask off areas when using splatter, except if maybe there's a big area to be splattered in one panel, where in the next panel is to be completely clear. Otherwise, when ink ends up elsewhere in the page, i usually leave it in there. If i think something's not working, i'll take it out in photoshop.

Declan Shalvey said...

Oh yeah, and i'm glad you like the process posts. These take a while to write up but i love it when artists i like show their process, so i thought folk might like if i did it. Maybe.

Stephen Mooney said...

Next tuesday possibly.

Declan Shalvey said...


Stephen Mooney said...


Dominic Bugatto said...

Looks great, thanks for sharing.