When I was asked to do a House Of Mystery story to be written by Bill Willingham I jumped at the chance. Not only would I get to work with Bill and get some great exposure, but I was looking forward to working from someone's script...something I had never really done much of. I was very lucky, in that Bill wrote the script for me, so the setting and subject matter already fell into my normal range of work. To the right is the page 2 script he sent.
Vertigo was keen to have me thumbnail the entire story in advance. In this layout process, I didn't go into too much detail and, in fact, left the last panel a bit bare. With Bill's note about how many captions and balloons were going to be in that panel, I figured I would deal with filling in when working at full scale.
The pencils shown here a a mix of parts I drew right on the page, and lightboxed sketches I had floating on various sheets of copy paper. Knowing how I was going to handle the roses in panel 1, I felt that I didn't need to pencil the detail all the way across to give the editor a sense of what I was going for in the final inks. I cheated with the herringbone patterned brick work. I made a sheet of the pattern in photoshop and distorted it to different angles and printed them out, using a lightbox to transfer the pattern to the artwork.
Once the pencils were approved, I moved on to the inks. I penciled the page much tighter than I would a Mouse Guard page, so the inks were a very literal translation of what I had drawn already. Areas with patterns were the places I did the most work directly in the ink, like the roses in panel 1, the foliage in panel 2, and the wall and plants in panel 5.
For the colors I wanted to mute the palette but still give a sense of life and light to the garden. I tweaked the greens endlessly on this story, trying to make sure they didn't blend together and didn't have too high a contrast. Adding the color-holds to push the background further back helped me give the garden a slight dreamy state, which fit well with the tone of Bill's script.
The final art appeared in House of Mystery number 7 and was reprinted in the TPB of House of Mystery vol.2.
Legends At NYCC: The plan for this weekend is that Archaia will have a limited advance copies of the Legends of the Guard hardcover at the New York Comic Con (which is odd because this advance will beat out the release of issue 4). This means that not only might you be able to get your paws on a copy if you go to the convention, you will also have the chance to get it signed by: Ted Naifeh, Sean Rubin, Alex Kain, Terry Moore, Katie Cook, Mark Smylie, Karl Kerschl, Joao Lemos, and myself. (according to their sites, all of those creators plan to be at the show in one location or another)