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Comics

A Look Inside Our Cover Process!

UPDATE:
APRIL FOOL’S!

We’d never get anything done if we still worked this way. This was just a love letter to processes from day’s gone by. Hope no one feels too taken in.

PREVIOUSLY

We haven’t posted raw cover art in a long time, and one of the reasons is that we’ve completely changed how we make our covers. When we hired our in-house designer, Andres Juarez, one of our goals was to get back to the roots of comic book design. That means every single one of our covers is laid out BY HAND on top of artist Charlie Adlard’s original art. Corrections are made with white out, logos are carefully cut with X-acto knives, and we go through lots and LOTS of rubber cement and tape. In fact, Andres doesn’t even have a work computer!

Anyway, we wanted to give you a look at one of our covers (issue #153, out next Wednesday), before it gets sent off to color processing:

153-cover-art-raw

Pretty cool, huh? You can see all of the imperfections that are carefully concealed in the final product, including some whited out areas (Charlie!), acetate pegs, tape, and approval marks.

Here’s our photomechanical transfer, where the elements are combined into a larger-format photo-exact copy:

1615074147

153-acetate

The combined, cut, cleaned up, and enlarged acetate (above, taped to some bristol board for shipping) is sent to colorist Dave Stewart, who does his colors DIRECTLY on the back of the acetate, meticulously working on the reversed image:

153-acetate-colored

If it looks a little messy, it’s because the black ink actually blocks out a lot of the color when the acetate is flipped. The final colored acetate is sent back to us for another round of approvals before we send it to Image for production. Every single one of these steps requires, time, patience, approval, and FedEx! It all adds up: It takes about 3 months to complete a cover! But it’s worth it for the final product:

The-Walking-Dead-153_Cover

THE WALKING DEAD #153
STORY: ROBERT KIRKMAN
ART: CHARLIE ADLARD, STEFANO GAUDIANO & CLIFF RATHBURN
COVER: CHARLIE ADLARD & DAVE STEWART
APRIL 6
32 PAGES | Black & White | Mature
$2.99

Heavy hangs the head.

  1. GovernorPhillip April 1, 2016 at 2:00 am - Reply

    We need more articles like this! I love finding out the process behind my favourite stories.

  2. BASTET. April 1, 2016 at 2:20 am - Reply

    GovernorPhillip took the words right away from my finger tips! Since I can’t take the Raving Fan Tour, I like all the inside peeks of Skybound & its processes I can get! This is very cool!!

  3. Palitoh April 1, 2016 at 3:26 am - Reply

    I was expecting a video 🙁

    But it was a nice article tho

  4. Epic A April 1, 2016 at 4:33 am - Reply

    Gee, that’s quite interesting… That image of your photomechanical transfer is also the SAME exact picture included on the Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies… hmmm.
    .
    http://www.forgottenartsupplies.com/?what=artifacts&image_id=178
    .
    Other than that, great informational piece about the process of covers! I’m an aspiring comic book artist that wants to make his own comics so this article is a great tip! Keep up the good work!

  5. BarbaLucy April 1, 2016 at 7:16 am - Reply

    It is nice to see graphics done the old fashioned way. There is something about putting your hands on the product and working with it rather then clicking and dragging.

  6. Caesar April 1, 2016 at 11:53 am - Reply

    It’s April Fool’s Day people. Clever joke for sure. Although Dave Stewart has been an Eisner Winner so many times that he could probably paint not just old school but even with his toes.

  7. ronnyhaze April 1, 2016 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    Awesome!!! Would love videos of the behind the scenes!!

  8. BASTET. April 2, 2016 at 6:41 am - Reply

    I can’t believe I fell for this. Loading my Fanheld Firing Gun for Brian.

  9. MikeLacey April 5, 2016 at 7:59 am - Reply

    Nice article, must have taken you ages, took me right in 🙂

    I’m pleased you let Andres use a computer though. The cover price would be … horrible if you duff things the old way!


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