Tag Archives: tom scioli

Process: Godland Trade Paperback Vol. 6

Godland, as an ongoing series, has ended, but as a creator-owned series it will always be part of my life. I’ve just finished the artwork for the wraparound cover for the sixth and final trade paperback collecting the final 7 issues of the series. It starts with a pencil drawing:


If you want a textured line, rather than a smooth line, you can ink the drawing with a pencil. I did a tighter pencil drawing:


No matter how much practice I get with a brush or pen, it will never catch up with the facility and control I have with a pencil. “Inking” with a pencil feels more natural, it’s easier, and I prefer the results to inking with actual ink. If you want a line with character, pencil is the way to go. Next step is to mess around with digital color and you’re there:




Free Comic Book Day Gold: Transformers vs. G.I.Joe

It’s just been announced, the Free Comic Book Day Gold Comic from IDW will by Transformers vs. G.I.Joe by me and John Barber. We just turned in our script for this issue, and it is hands-down the best thing I’ve ever worked on. I wrote a little bit about the research process at ComicsAlliance. Here’s the cover art:


Initially Ed Piskor and I hatched a plan to create an unofficial crossover with our Free Comic Book Day books. We were both going to use a layout that pays homage to Marvel’s 25th Anniversary covers.


Here’s Ed’s HHFT Free Comic Book Day cover for Fantagraphics (minus the surprise reveal of the issue’s star):


Here’s my initial layout for the Transformers vs. G.I.Joe Free Comic Book Day issue:


I think the end result would’ve been great, but to be honest, as an image, I just wasn’t feeling it. I liked the prankish aspects of us doing an unofficial crossover. I thought it was something that could be highly promotable, the idea of two friends creating an unofficial crossover between their FCBD books. I lament the missed opportunity for those reasons. But as iconic as it is, I’ve just never been a big fan of that Marvel 25th Anniversary layout.

For a comic about Hip Hop, the idea of using a classic superhero layout like this is genius, real outside-the-box thinking, which perfectly fits Piskor’s “Hip Hop as Superheroes” thesis. For a Transformers vs. G.I.Joe comic, where this layout has been used before more than once, it seemed like it would be a bit obvious. These are the difficult decisions an artist has to make. This isn’t your father’s Transformers/G.I. Joe comic. I wanted to show a real break from what’s come before with Transformers and G.I. Joe, the start of a new era that reflects my aesthetic, my strengths as an artist.

Something immediate. Something you’ve never seen before. Something like this:


With a layout I was happy with, I went about penciling:


Then inking and texturing:


Then color (with the assistance of the great Josh Burcham):


So that’s the long and winding road to a comic book cover.

Retailers, order a ton of IDW’s Transformers vs. G.I. Joe Free Comic Book Day Gold Comic. Watch everybody come back a month later to buy issue one.

Comics Fans, ask your retailer to order a bunch of these so you’ll get your copy.

Process: Superman Illustration for Akron Comicon

The theme for November 9th’s Akron Comicon will be 75 Years of Superman. For that occasion I’ve created this color illustration.


Here’s the genesis of the piece:


At this year’s Phoenix Comicon I overheard two artists talking about the difficulty of depicting Superman. The problem is that he has a sky blue costume and is constantly flying against a blue sky background. This idea for this illustration immediately revealed itself to me. I’d use that element as a strength, rather than a weakness.

I began this drawing as I’ve described these other process drawings, rough sketch, flip the paper over to do a tighter pencil on a lightbox, then flip it back over to ink.


I gave everything a contour line except for his costume to really make it blend into the background. Note the missing eyes, like a painted religious icon where a conqueror gouged out the eyes.


On a separate sheet of typing paper I lightboxed a line drawing to indicate areas of color to make the color-flatting process easier in photoshop. This saves me from having to click-click-click an outline around every shape.


The end result presents Superman as an aspirational sky god. The “painted on” eyes hint at similar flourishes in Hindu statuary. The absence of the costume suggests a universality, but maybe also an emptiness to the character.

I keep trying to stifle my fannish impulse. I strive to be an iconoclast, not a pious delineator of illuminated manuscripts.

I can’t stop myself. I love comics, and superhero comics most of all.

As with previous process posts, I’m selling the original artwork on my Etsy page. Click here to purchase: www.etsy.com/listing/154719261/superman-drawing-by-tom-scioli?


The fictional character Superman is tm and copyright DC Comics

Process: Finishing Godland

I’m finishing Godland, with just a few pages to go. This project represents a big chunk of my life and I’m finding it difficult to finish. With less than 10 pages to go, why is it taking so long? There are multiple reasons. I think I don’t want to let go of my last remaining connection to that nostalgic world of old-school, serialized, wednesday crowd comic-book-comics. A more pressing reason is that sales of Godland reached a point where I was no longer earning a royalty check. As of issue #16 I was making the comic for free.

I continued making the comic out of love, but I soon found other projects that I loved more: American Barbarian, Final Frontier, Satan’s Soldier and Mystery Object. Godland was exactly the kind of comic I wanted to make in 2005 (Kirby-esque pop art with as close to a “mainstream appeal” as I was comfortable with), but it isn’t 2005 any more.

In many ways, Godland had become a hobby not a job. For me a job takes precedence over a hobby. Here’s my solution, how to get myself to finish these last few pages: make Godland into a job. Make a schedule and something to sell at the end that’s worth my time and effort.

I’m breaking my policy of not selling Godland original art. You can view my progress here. I’ll post updates for the progress of the art. When I finish the page, it will be available for sale.

Here’s the rough layout:


Here’s the pencilled version:


What I did was flip the rough layout over, put it on a lightbox, and do the tight pencil on the other side of the bristol board, changing and editing as much as I feel is necessary. Since I ink Godland myself, I don’t need to make the pencils as tight and refined as I would if someone else had to ink it. At this stage I’m basically giving myself instructions in my own particular visual shorthand.

Next up: Inking.

For this phase, I turn the page over again and erase the layout that I started with. I then start inking on the frontside, with the pencils on the back side of the page, that way I’m more free to interpret the pencils rather than merely tracing them. So on the back of the board is a pencil drawing, on the front is the inked. I have a friend who displays pieces like this in a frame with a glass back so either side can be viewed. Here’s the finished art:


It’s on 14″ x 17″ bristol board. If you want to purchase the original art, here’s the Etsy link for it: