I wanted to do a blog post about this ‘remastering’ process. I don’t know if it’s really the right word because really this isn’t something commonly done in comics. A creator takes his own work from 20 years ago and re-makes the same story…it’s unique so I wanted to show exactly what’s involved in the process.
Here you can see one of the original pages from OINK Heaven’s Butcher first published in 1995. This page ultimately became two pages in the new book.
Here are the two pages this page became through this process.
A lot of my decisions in the first book were driven by time management. I didn’t really have a ton of time and in hindsight there were some moments in the book that felt ‘rushed’. I did a lot of reading of Scott Mcloud’s amazing ‘Understanding Comics’ to further my own study regarding the art of telling a story with panels. Ironically I needed more ‘time’ between my panels to give this moment it’s proper due.
My process breaks into two stages of preparation and rendering. The first step of preparation is a quick sketch of the layout I think I’m going to want regardless of what was in the original. What is the composition of the panels? I then start my study process, sketching the new things I’m going to add. You can see in this sequence it’s really a complete overhaul with nothing but the ‘ideas’ of the original still firmly in place. This image by Norman Rockwell was really in my mind during the creation of the page where Spigot makes his proclamation. I loved the idea of referencing Rockwell in particular because his work was so draped in Americana, and OINK is sort of the antithesis of that.
Once I have my sketches I scan them and begin to place them into a digital template I use for every page. This template has all the proper bleeds and padding required for printing. Once I have my images roughed in I begin to refine the rough drawings.
These first steps are really the important steps of my process, the rest is just rendering. I spend almost equal time in preparation layout vs. rendering. I’m going to jump to another example here to show my rendering process. Typically I am painting flat color first, but during this I'm thinking about lighting. The rendering process is time consuming and what I’m doing is just slowly working through the image one element at a time.
Now with my rendering complete I focus on lighting. This is where I start to use things like focus, debris, shadow to refine the image into the end result. These are often done using layer properties in Photoshop. I use Darken or Multiply for my shadows, and Screen, Overlay, or Lighten for my highlights. Once I have that in place I'll start adding in polish elements such as the debris, smoke, objects with motion.
I hope you enjoyed this deeper look into the remaking of OINK. Thank you for supporting independent, creator-owned comics!