I saved all the individual steps of making chapter 28 page 6. (Last did this during chapter 5…check out what’s changed about the process, and what hasn’t.)

(1) Sketch

Very basic, working out the panel layout, and the figures and angles in each shot. I know in general what the dialogue is going to be, but don’t write it all out at this point, just a couple notes.

(2) Lineart

This doesn’t get inked right on top of the first scan — the pencil lines get fleshed out a bunch first. Some things get left out because I know I’m going to add them digitally (usually if there are a bunch of straight lines involved).

(3) Digital cleanup

Once it’s scanned, I reduce the lineart to B&W, fill in the black frame, straighten out the panel borders, and replace the whites with a medium grey. (Among other things, it’s more forgiving if there’s a spot you neglect to fill in.)

(4) Colors!

They’re pulled from a palette, and/or from earlier pages featuring the characters. You can also see me starting to fill in the blank backgrounds.

(5) Shading!

Flood-fill tool set to multiply. I have a couple different tones to shadow the color areas — you can see they have warmer shadows in the first panel, cooler ones back in the hospital. The greyscale bits just get shaded with more greys.

(6) Patterns!

On a separate layer. The ones in this page are all darker than the base color, so it’s a multiply layer. This is also where I added an extra-dark gradient over the shot of Reseda.

(7) At last, the text

I don’t plan the dialogue bubbles in detail beforehand, but sometimes I can get away with not drawing all the details underneath — like in this middle panel, which is still missing some of the equipment on the hospital bed. You can see the results in the final version.