Comic Book Cover Art – Cyber Spectre Pencils: Drafting, Composing and Establishing the Layout

In this comic art demonstration you’ll get an inside look at my drawing process for a comic book cover commission I created for Richard Emm’s “Cyber-Spectre”.

This video is the first of a two part series where I’ll be showing you my process for pencilling and inking a complete comic book cover. The next video will be up next week, where I’ll ink the pencilled draft demonstrated in this video and bring it through to completion.

For me, the pencilling stage of any comic book illustration starts off with a basic sketch that establishes the main composition and layout. In the beginning, my focus is on positioning and placing the figures to indicate depth and dimension within the characters, then framing them in an appealing way that lends to the overall narrative I’m attempting to convey.

The initial draft of the illustration will go through multiple phases of development before a final direction is decided upon. These include the exploration of numerous design options where the layout, composition and figures are experimented with in a variety of ways. This gives us options, so that we can generate lots of ideas and pick the best one, rather than confining ourselves to the first sketch we might come up with.

The figures themselves must be structured with accurate proportions, and posed in a way that looks believable. A character’s pose may be exaggerated to quite a dramatic extent, which is common a common place occurrence in the comic book medium. This is totally fine, as long as the figure is drawn in a way that makes their composition appear possible in reality.

Another consideration that comes into play when plotting out the poses for your characters is their personality and attitude. Since these unseen aspects of who they are must be alluded to visually, they should be posed in a way that suggests their personality through body language and facial expressions in order to establish an emotional connection with the audience.

After a basic draft has been drawn up for the cover, we then proceed into the refinement stage where the illustration is articulated with a cleaner, sharper line. The anatomy of the characters is also defined over the top of their mannequinized figures, as the physical restraints of their body become clearer through the complex structure of muscles.

If the pose is so exaggerated that the body appears bent and twisted into an impossible position, it’s at this point that it’ll become clear.

I find that this stage involves a lot of problem solving, as any flaws that are present in the initial draft are corrected in preparation for the final inking stage.

I hope you enjoy the video!

Thanks for watching!

Software Used: Manga Studio
For more information on Cyber-Spectre visit:

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