From Layouts to the Final Page: Eryk Donovan’s Art Process for ‘Cognetic’
Cognetic is the latest mind-bending sci-fi comic from the Memetic creative team of James Tynion IV and Eryk Donovan, this time centering on the return to earth of a psychic hivemind with the power to control a huge swath of the world's population. It falls to one FBI employee to try to save civilization from... well, maybe from what it only thinks is itself?
Courtey of publisher Boom Studios, we've been given an exclusive look at Eryk Donovan's art process for the book, following him from initial layouts to final pages, with colors by Juan Manuel Tumburus. It's a fascinating insight into a process that fans don't often get to see. Check it out below.
For Cognetic, my work was done predominately traditionally, with pencil, pen, and paper. I start with layouts, which I keep very loose and are mostly about the panel design and basic storytelling and composition within the panels. Once thumbnails are completed, I enlarge the image digitally, and then print a composite out on paper, which I lightbox onto the bristol board that I finish the pencils on.
Typically I layout and ink the panel borders, and then finish the linework inside. I then ink over the pencils, and after scanning in the final work, I threshold and complete the blacks for color.
Page 22-23 Spread: I really enjoyed making this page, getting to play around with panel layout and page flow in a more illustrative way. Initially I conceptualized the final panel popping out over the falling Blue, but after the pencils were finished, we decided it worked better without.
This page is also an example of the small bits of digital additions to the final image, with the REC symbol for the phone images added in the panels afterward.
Page 26 - This page gave me a little trouble initially. It's essentially an emotional moment for Annie, feeling powerless and overwhelmed by the city. My layouts were approved but after pencilling the page, I decided it wasn't cutting it, and went for a second instead.
In the initial version I wanted Annie to be small, contrasting with the city looming above, but instead I felt it was too flat, and didn't convey the emotional core of the scene.
Annie is much more powerful compositionally in the final version, but it fits perfectly as a visual description of her decision and determination to approach the tower.
Page 29 - This is just a fun creepy one. Something about a completely still, silent crowd staring at you just feeds into some primal social fear.
Especially with the crowds I leave a lot of the details for inks, which give them both an energy and an uneasiness in the line.
Cognetic #1 goes on sale October 21. Here's the full solicitation:
Cognetic #1 (of 3)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Author: James Tynion IV
Artist: Eryk Donovan
Main Cover: Eryk Donovan
BOOM! 10 Years Incentive Cover: Felipe Smith
Incentive Cover: Juan Doe
On Sale Date: 10/21
What’s to Love: The creative team behind the award-nominated Memetic are back with another apocalyptic tale! We obviously love working with James Tynion IV (see The Woods, UFOlogy, and the aforementioned Memetic), and we know partnering him once again with artist Eryk Donovan will lead to another great-looking story. In Cognetic, Tynion and Donovan offer a look at the fundamentally human desire for control—that deep-seated belief we all feel in our darkest moments that if we had total, absolute power, we would be able to create a perfect world. But there’s always a price for playing God...
What It Is: Every human believes that they are self-reliant, self-determined individuals, each set on their own course. They've built civilizations, they've built culture, they've built lives... But what if that isn't the right track? What if there is a singular mind ready to take back control and finally right the destiny of mankind and build a better tomorrow? Cognetic is the story of a powerful psychic being that once controlled one-third of the world's population as a part of its hivemind, and his return to humanity in modern-day New York City. It's a psychic action thriller, precariously positioned on the edge of outright apocalypse. It's also the story of a young woman, the assistant to the director of the FBI, who might be the only one who can save humanity, but at a terrible, terrible cost. Each issue in this miniseries is oversized with 48 pages!