Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I thought I would show of the steps and the thinking that went into working out a Rocketo page.
In this case, it was going to be a nice long panel, maybe, taking up half the page. The idea was simple enough Rocketo and Spiro leave their ship to go exploring in the new world. The thumbnails are really small, and I group them in one page, originally they are on two separate papers and they are both so small that if I scanned the entire pages, it would be hard to spot them.
So out comes the Bristol paper. Now normally if this were a painting I would use an Illustration board, but when working on a comic, I try to keep the Illustration board work down to just the covers. I sketched out the figures and once a couple of corrections were done, I started the inking on part of them, just so I could remember certain details, that would tell me more about the flow of the action.

keep it flowing now. The sky tones are put in as quick as possible, so I can control how much white of the paper is going to show through, that way my values will be a bit more controlled in the end. Another reason is, just to get the ball rolling... we all have this fear of ruining the picture, I like to ruin it as fast as possible. From this point on I better work at fixing the blasted thing.

The values of the car are thrown in, big thinking at this point. The textures of the car and some of the forms that I like to bring out are played with in very fast strokes.

Once some of the values of the car are worked up, I go back into the characters at this point about twenty minutes or so has gone by. I use a hairdryer to dry the paint even quicker, yep, the pages warp a bit, but since I want to scan these, it's not a big deal, I can always flatten it later.
This is were it slows down a bit. The characters shapes are blocked in, and some back and forth happens between car and characters and background, everything starts to erupt fast at this point. I pretty much work this sucker up to the finish state.
Now, remember the thumbnail, it shows a big ship at the end of it, well I threw out that idea and wanted to add something a bit more open, to give the feeling of a big vista. This story is called the NEW WORLD, not the New ship. So now the panel upgrades to a nice double page spread, that took me by surprise.

Here is the rest of the background, same process, big strokes and quick shapes. In fact the background takes even less time, because it's nice and loose and should not have fine details to it. There is still foreground work to be done so I tackle that and soon it's pretty much done. It's back and forth and sideways, going back from dark to light and light to dark.

Here are the two black plates for the pages, more or less at a ready point for the next steps it will take to finish it. Basically it's not finished until the lettering gets put in, and the color is final, the borders are defined.. that is when its ready to send out, but at this stage its fun to see where it can still go.

A very rough color, shows me how the values and textures will look with some color on top.

Best to all.


  1. Thanks Frank! That's bad@$$! :)

  2. Very nice!
    Big fan.
    Love the look at yer process!

  3. thank you so much, fellas!
    Your words are always a source for inspiration.

  4. Frank! Parent-conferences and school-work have kept me from viewing your latest entries until now. Wow. Great stuff. So fun to see your process.

  5. I always love to see the process behind an illustration. It always gives us artists a chance to try new ways of approaching things! I still have yet to get a good grasp of my personal process, but eventually I'll figure something that'll work for me...
    For some reason, and I don't know why, there are times that I go to post a comment and the 'post a comment' box doesn't come up...

    Still in here checking up on you!


  6. Weeks ago I forced a student from a comic school to buy all of the Rocketo books. He didn't seem convinced...

    Yesterday he came back begging for more and when I told him that was it for the moment but you had a blog...

    "What blog? What's he doing on a blog? I want new issues. This is the best I've read in six years!"