Artist Brian Churilla Talks Digital Art Process on Hellbreak [Exclusive]
To promote his new Oni Press book Hellbreak with writer Cullen Bunn, artist Brian Churilla has been putting together these great process gifs to show how he creates his art. As an artist that works entirely digitally, Churilla has gone to great pains to still give his work texture and depth. He does all the linework using an iMac and Manga Studio 5 before passing it off to colorist Dave Stewart and letterer Jared Fletcher.
Check out the animated gif below, exclusive to ComicsAlliance, plus the variant covers for Hellbreak #1 and an explanation of his process.
The kind folks at Comics Alliance have afforded me the opportunity to give you, one of the few people inclined to read an article of this nature, a glimpse into convoluted and cockamamy process by which I produce art, specifically comic book covers and pinups (I wish I could write this whole thing in one long, run-on sentence). This process changes from book-to-book and year-to-year, but this is how I’m producing comic art at the moment.
In my opinion, the most effective covers combine graphic and illustrative sensibilities, and this is an aesthetic I generally try to employ. In this image, the praying figure of Father Lloyd is the graphic element, which then frames all of the illustrative elements within. Usually I try to crate an iconic cover that conveys an idea or concept, rather than a simple depiction of a scene from the issue.
I like to start out with a fairly rough “pencil drawing” (if I could make air quotes here I would --- as this is all done digitally), in red or blue. Virtually all of the pencils and brushes I use were made by Ray Frenden. This is done on one or two layers in Manga Studio. I like to feel that the inks are interpreting the pencils, rather than merely tracing them, so I try to keep my pencils loose, rarely spending more than an hour on this stage.
Lastly, I ink it with a custom brush of my own dubbed, “The Panosian." It's a flexible, chisel-tipped brush that is similar in some respects to a brush that Dan Panosian uses (which I think is a Kuretake disposable brush pen).
When inking digitally, I don’t try to simulate how I ink traditionally, rather, I try to find a compromise between the two. I’ve discovered that there are no magic brushes or Cintiqs, or whatever. It’s all about the artist and technique. I spent a lot of time searching for the magical tools to no avail. I realized that it’s not some mystical alchemy of art supplies that makes an artist awesome, rather, it’s the thousands of hours one commits to his or her craft.
Comic shops that want the variants can email firstname.lastname@example.org with their Diamond Account number to increase their orders.