Monday, February 15, 2021

The Making of Nocterra #1's Comic Cover! (Surprise Comics Variant)

Welcome everyone!

Here is a behind-the-scenes look at my process for creating the Surprise Comics variant cover to Image Comics' upcoming Scott Snyder & Tony Daniel release--Nocterra #1.


STEP 1: Concept Thumbnails

Before a comic cover can be born, the approved artist has to show some kind of "proof of concept" to the creative team involved with the comic series. When exclusive retailer variants are created, the chosen artist has to run that art by the retailer before it can go to the comic creative team for approval. In the case of Nocterra #1, I only submitted a couple of ideas, which both can be seen here:

OPTION A:

OPTION B:



Like most thumbnails, my roughs for Nocterra were very simple, loose sketches of what the comic cover could potentially look like. In this case, "Option A" was chosen. I'm glad because that one was my favorite.


STEP 2: PENCILS

With the cover design decided, it's now time to get that pencil moving and draw a full, 11x17 cover on comic art board. Here are a few shots of me trying to get my pencils solid enough to move on to the next step:



Here is focus on loosely laying out the central figure--Val.



Next, I added a foreground framing element (monsters called "shades") as well as some background shade monsters. This step is about overall composition.



Finally, I began tweaking the smaller details and re-drew the anatomy of the characters until I felt confident enough in the basic layout to move forward.

Now, normally I pencil much, much tighter than this. I tend not to leave loose lines or stray markings that the inker will have to interpret with cleaner lines. I even pencil all of the desired hatching and feathering that I'd like to see in the inked art (not to say I don't welcome an inker's additions to form, lighting and weight, but I try to make their job as easy as possible). I've found that penciling tightly helps save the inker some time and helps us give the colorist more time to work his or her magic down the line. However, with this cover, I decided early on that I was going to be a lazy penciler and just ink it myself. So very little pencil details were needed!

Bad decision? Who knows? I'll let YOU be the judge!


STEP 3: INKS

Look. I'm typically not an inker, but for this one, I wanted to throw my hat into the inking ring. Nowadays, inkers use scans of the pencils and print out a version (sometimes called blue-lines) to ink over. That way, there is still an original, untouched pencil version of the cover out there, and the inker can ink over a copy with less pressure of potentially messing up the only original pencils that exist. However, I inked directly over my loose, original pencils for Nocterra. Here are some shots of my inking process:


 I started with the large areas of heavy black...



...and worked my way to the mid-ground elements...



....and then some background elements.




Finally, I started zeroing in on the smaller details that would bring all 3 of those previous planes together.




Lastly, I scanned the competed inks and digitally erased any small imperfections like eraser shavings or unintentional ink marks.



When done, I have a finished, clean set of inks to send on to the next step!


STEP 4: Colors!

Juan Fernandez is a profound and successful colorist for DC, Marvel, Zenoscope, Image and many other companies, but more importantly, he's a cool collaboration partner, and he agreed to color Nocterra's cover early on. I sent him the digital file of the inks and he went to work with the mystical and mysterious process of coloring a comic cover! I've never been a part of that process (other than making a few requests here and there), but I believe there are plenty of videos, tutorials and resources online to see just what goes into the intricate process of digitally painting comics. Here, I'll just show you the finished result of Juan's genius:


Eric Henson's Nocterra #1 cover art w/colors by Juan Fernandez


STEP 5: Final Submission

And finally, with colors completed, we sent the cover art back to the publisher & creative team behind the series (in this case, Image Comics), and awaited their approval, disapproval or edits/notes.

The publishing team finalized the cover, made sure the image was formatted correctly for print, artistically placed all of the cover font on the image, and then sent the cover art back to the artist & retailer to see the fruit of all that labor!


STEP 6: The Final Reveal!

And there you have it! The final version of the cover:


Nocterra #1 (Surprise Comics Variant): Art by Eric Henson w/colors by Juan Fernandez



Thanks for checking out this behind-the-scenes look at the process! Please check out Nocterra #1 and order a copy of my exclusive variant cover HEREhttps://surprisecomics.com/collections/nocterra/products/nocterra-1-surprise-comics-exclusive-cover-by-eric-henson

Book releases 3/3/21

Signed copies will include a certificate of authenticity

NOCTERRA #1 
IMAGE COMICS
(W) Scott Snyder (A/CA) Tony S. Daniel, Tomeu Morey
"FULL THROTTLE DARK," Part One-Ten years after the world is plunged into an everlasting night that turns all living creatures into monstrous shades, the only way to survive is to stay close to artificial light. Enter Valentina "Val" Riggs, a skilled ferryman who transports people and goods along deadly unlit roads with her heavily illuminated eighteen wheeler.



Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Last Ronin & the 11th Doctor!

Here’s a sketch cover commission I just finished on a #lastronin blank variant. Done with Sharpie pens & #copicmarkers.



The Last Ronin #1 Sketch Cover- by Eric Henson



Another Splinter Remarque complete!





I was honored to draw this #DrWho sketch cover for a great friend! Much love to their entire family~ so grateful to contribute a gift to their holiday celebration!

Doctor Who Sketch Cover- by Eric Henson



Saturday, December 19, 2020

Turtle Remarque Madness!

Here are a few more of my Remarques on #TMNT 106! These are also signed by Turtles co-creator Kevin B. Eastman! You can snag one of these exclusively at Surprise Comics (www.surprisecomics.com)!


Shredder Remarque- by Eric Henson (TMNT #106)

The Last Ronin Remarque- by Eric Henson (TMNT #106)

Four Brothers Remarque- by Eric Henson (TMNT #106)

Leonardo Remarque- by Eric Henson (TMNT #106)


Wednesday, December 2, 2020

DEATH Becomes Her!

 Probably the most fun I’ve had doing a #sketchcover. Here’s a #ladydeath from #coffincomics—created by the fantastic Brian Pulido!

Shout out to the
Lady Death Universe
!

Lady Death Sketch Cover- by Eric Henson


Friday, November 20, 2020

Playing Catch-up!

 Here are a few sketch covers and remarques done for fans that I'm a bit late posting here:


Casey Jones on TMNT #106- by Eric Henson




Raphael on TMNT #106- by Eric Henson 



Usagi Yojimbo on TMNT #106- by Eric Henson



TMNT on the back cover of "The Last Ronin #1"- by Eric Henson




And Finally...

...Another #DcComics limited sketch cover complete! The idea was to capture the iconic comic versions of #thejoker alongside his more stylized #batmantheanimatedseries look. Done with Sharpie pens & #copicmarkers on a rare #harleyquinn #75 Ryan Kincaid & Nathan Szerdy Sketch Cover.


(2 Jokers) Harley Quinn #75 Sketch Cover- by Eric Henson


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Bishop Sketchbook Commission!

Did this very 90’s #Bishop sketchbook commission for a very patient #xmen fan...


Bishop Sketchbook Commission- by Eric Henson


Sunday, October 25, 2020

Rangers vs Turtles...AGAIN!

Just did another #TMNT vs #PowerRangers (homage) sketch cover for a patient fan (after the fantastic Jim Cheung with a little Lafuente in there too).


Power Rangers vs TMNT Sketch Cover- by Eric Henson (After Jim Cheung)



Jim Cheung's Avengers vs X-Men Cover