Hello! I’m Jason Rainey, your guest blogger for today. You might remember me from such thrilling guest blog posts like Comic Nrrds vs The Bible, and… well, that’s really the only other post I’ve written for Save Apathea.

As Jonathan has mentioned before, he employed my help in toning some of the Apathea Ravenchilde sequences. For the most part, we both add tones using the computer, and I just tried my best to mimic his coloring style. However, for this scene where Apathea encounters the Lizard Men of Elberon, I decided to tackle it a bit differently.

When I looked at these pages, I was struck by Jonathan’s brush work depicting the texture of the rocky environment. It looked great, and I immediately felt that the coloring should match the rugged quality of the lines. I decided the best way to achieve that quality was to do what Jonathan had done, and work with a brush.

Well, a brush and a few other things…

My first step was putting my printouts of the panels onto a lightbox and covering it with a sheet of marker paper. When I turn the lightbox on, it lets me see the images through the marker paper more clearly.

Looking at the art, I imagine where I want the shadows to be and then draw them with my brushpen.

If I may take a moment to nerd out about the tools I use: There are many types of brushpens available. If you’re interested in trying one out, look for one with synthetic bristles, NOT felt-tip. The points of felt tip brushpens will quickly deteriorate. My flavor of choice is the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.

Honestly, I could use anything to draw these shadows… ball point pen, magic marker… I went with the brush because I wanted to be consistent with Jonathan’s art.

Also, I use marker paper, because it’s designed to be drawn on with lots of ink. Normal typing paper will eventually buckle if you put too much ink on it, and with other translucent papers, like tracing paper or vellum, it takes forever for the ink to dry (which means it’s more likely to smudge). It still takes a bit of time for ink to dry on marker paper, but not long.

Okay! Back to the process!

Once I finished drawing my shadows, I scanned them into Photoshop. I then opened the corresponding comic page.

This is the comic page without shadows. Notice that I’ve added flat colors to the characters and backgrounds. It looks okay now, but adding the shadows will add more depth to the images.

With both files open, I copied the shadows in my scan and pasted them in a layer on top of the artwork.

After that, I just had to adjust the opacity of the layer until the shadows were as dark as I wanted them to be. After some slight tweaks and corrections, the page is essentially done!

I could easily have toned every page of the comic this way, but that wouldn’t have been consistent with Jonathan’s coloring style. However, I appreciated the chance to do more work with some pen and paper. Doing these things on a computer is super easy and convenient, but I think it’s important as an artist to get my hands dirty every once in a while.