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illustrating a comics page

The Origin of the Amazing Spider-Foo. A parody comic. Script by Crhymes. Art by Tone.

Here’s a one-page comic I recently illustrated called the ‘The Origin of The Amazing Spider-Foo’. It’s a Spider-Man parody written by Crhymes; a writer, comedian, and musician based out of San Diego.

From Script to Rough Layout

Originally conceived of as a one-page 12 inch by 12 inch record insert, Crhyme’s script was a brillliant parody of Stan Lee’s verbose Marvel Comics stories.

Here’s the script:

My first task was to break the text up in to individual panels. I was originally thinking a 9 panel grid, but couldn’t squeeze all of the text in, so I added a tenth introduction panel on top. I even started thinking about color at this stage. Here’s an early rough that was meant just for me.

I refined my roughs and sent them over to Crhymes. (I sent them without color, since I wasn’t sure yet what my color plan was.)

At this point, Crhymes had some much-needed suggestions to help make my drawings more convincing, including the addition of palm trees, making Spidey-Foo’s sandals more accurate, and adding tattoos to Pedro Parker’s arms and neck. Crhymes also wanted Spider-Foo to break the panel borders in the last panel.

Changes are welcome at this rough stage because they’re easy to make before inks and color are added.

Pushing and Refining the Poses

At this time I also decided to push the poses in the piece, especially in panels 1 and 2. (The poses of those two panels in the roughs just looked too similar to me.) Pedro Parker also looked too relaxed in panel 3, so I changed up that pose as well.

Here’s a few rough drawings I made while working on the piece.

Digitally Inking the Comics Page

Inking went slowly for me, though you wouldn’t know it from the timelapse below.

If only I could work that fast.

I originally estimated the page would take me about 6 – 8 hours, but each panel took about 3 hours including rough drawing, inks, lettering, and colors.

A lot of that time was spent trying things that didn’t work out, like those early rough colors, or some of the unused poses, for instance. And a lot of undos. Undo. Undo. Undo. Making comics is hard.

Here’s the final inks.

Coloring the Comics Page

I finished the colors, (done on a separate layer from the inks and pencils, as you can see above), choosing not to show Spider-Foo in full-color until the final couple of panels.

I sent the final artwork to Crhymes. He had a few edits to the text, which was no problem since the lettering was a well-crafted font I purchased from PixelSagas.

Leading up to San Diego ComicCon, Crhymes started posting a panel a day to his Instagram. Crhymes is wild, ambitious, and smart. It’s my guess that he has a lot of stories in him, and not just Spider-Man parodies.

I’m grateful he took a chance on this fairly untested comics-maker.

Go buy a shirt from him, or a print of the comic, while he works on his next project.

digging ‘journey to the microcosmos’

Digging the new YouTube show Journey to the Microcosmos.

It’s incredible. A… celebration of observation.

Every choice the creators have made, from onscreen font selection, to Andrew Huang’s unobtrusive ambient music, to Hank Green’s subdued; though still enthusiastic; narration, allows the viewer to focus on James Weiss’ cinematography of the microcosmos.

And it’s Weiss’s cinematography, and the organisms it photographs, that are the real stars of the production.

My hurried notes and scratchy ink marks don’t do the series near the justice it deserves. Instead, you should go watch, and subscribe, so they can continue to make more.

shop back up…but…

shop back up, but that means my archive of webcomics is down:(

wordpress doesn’t know when it will be fixed. they rolled out an automatic update of woocommerce that doesn’t play well with the webcomics plug in

and they can’t roll back the woocommerce update

in the meantime here’s a snippet of timelapse featuring me digtially inking the latest ‘steps’ strip, which you can’t read in the archive, so i’ve posted that below as well…

gah! shop is down but…

i have a solution

woocommerce’s recent auto update broke my store and they can’t roll it back, but in the meantime, while they get things fixed, i hope, if you are interested in a book, simply shoot me an email at tone@screentone.org and we will get you taken care of

here’s a peek at the books:

late layout changes to steps volume 2


the nice thing about printing these up myself is that i can make changes late in the game

when i printed up a few copies of steps volume 2, for instance, i was unsatisfied with the size of the images in the book (in a way that i wasn’t with volume 1)

the comics felt too small. they had no oomph. no impact at that size

so i decided to go with a 2 x 2 frame instead of fully vertical

with this change in the layout the images are quite a bit bigger. i didnt realize how important having those panels be as large as possible is – especially since the panel don’t change much

you can still preorder volume 2 in the store. or save some money with a steps 2 pack if you haven’t yet picked up volume 1

my plan is to start printing these no later than april 16

redacted’s dream

this dream’s not mine, it was a friend of mine, but it was a good one to turn in to comics

i wrote down as many dreams as i could remember in march, so i’ll be making more of these

and today i picked up a ream of cardstock, so i’ll start printing copies of steps volume 2 soon. preorder now!

and if you didn’t pick up volume 1 yet, pick up the 2 pack. they look and feel really good

steps volume 2 cover

ok i finally decided what the cover will be for volume 2 of the steps zine

here it is, keeping with the tradition established by volume 1 of using a panel from one of the interior strips

the art file for the book is all set up, now i’ve just got to get them printed up

you can preorder now or if you didn’t yet pick up volume 1, you can preorder the steps 2 pack

putting together steps volume 2

last night, after little guy went to bed, i started laying out steps volume 2 while watching avengers: infinity war on netflix. (it was good. but brutal. spidey’s death was heartbreaking.)

i was going to reveal the cover here, but right before i pressed ‘publish’ i decided to keep it hidden…

volume 2 collects all of the february 2018 comics

volume 1 is still available in the shop. ( i’m biased of course, since it’s me assembling these by hand, but it’s still amazing to me how good these little zines feel. the colors look great too.)

of course you can still read steps here on the website or watch some timelapse videos of the comics coming together

and i’ve started filling my sketchbook with the bones of new strips i can’t wait to get to work on

zinefest & a store

here’s the wave of zines i printed last week on display at the zinefest this past weekend

there’s ‘balloon head man,’ collecting the book i serialized on screentone last year

also, ‘steps volume 1,’ a collection of the first 15 steps strips

and, ‘sh*tty sketches,’ featuring my favorite doodles from 2017 – 2018

(the books feel so good in hand… i didn’t expect that)

and maybe this is burying the lede, but i created a store to sell the copies that i didn’t sell

so if you want one you can get one! i’ll mail it to you! u.s. orders only currently:( since i don’t know what i’m doing

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