Hey there, you’d be forgiven for thinking that in the context of making a comic book the cover page, being as it is a single page should actually be relatively simple – but designing a cover page is never an easy task, whether it’s for a comic book or any other type of book.

The comic book cover has to portray, if not the entire story, but certainly the promise of the story in a single page that will capture the reader’s interest and imagination.

So how did we go about this, well rather than write a long treatise on it, I think the best way is to show the ideas, discussion and work in progress art work that the team put into this.


The Best Place to Start is to Just Start

We actually did the cover page after we had finished off the inking for the first 9 pages.

By this point Seb, Simon and I had already been working together for a few months – we all by now understand the story, so rather than going into writing a brief of what I thought we should have, similarly to how we got our best ideas, we started with a sketch and go from there.



The Idea of the Posed Cast vs the Action Shot vs the Shadow

I think we all agreed that the idea of the shadow would be one that would mirror Jay and Natiahs/Jay’s fallen self would work.  Though this idea has been done several times in modern day movies and comics.  We had to decide whether this was a trope that we wanted to follow.

There’s three major sub categories of posters that we considered at the start/

  1. The posed cast shot – how many times have we seen this, it def. works, it tends to work for characters and franchises that are well known

    There is absolutely no doubt that these posters are epic – we came to the conculsion that for a first issue of a new comic book it wouldn’t be the best option. That’s not to say that it’s not ruled out for future issues as Digitopia gains more traction and you get to know the characters more though.



  2. An action shot – goodie fights baddie, again you know both the characters in the shot and really you want a good fight movie/comic book – extra points in the fight is in midair

    This again, I think works because you know the characters already, I don’t think this would work if you swapped out the Spiderman and The Green Goblin for two unknown characters – the fact that you know their backstories makes this intriguing as you want to know how Spiderman got into this situation


  3. The idea of the shadow – this is not new, I certainly don’t claim to have invented it, but I feel that this type of shot does tell of a deeper story and the character facing their own fears


    The first time I saw this done was on Star Wars Episode 1 – I thought it was really clever. Though for me it was really clever, I can imagine that not everyone gets it the first time around. Our cover as you can see above has an element of this in it. I wanted to create something that had an element that not everyone would notice.

Where are we Setting the Scene?

We all pretty much agreed that the shadow idea was the way we wanted to go – I’m pleased when that happens, though I do like the debate on creative choices that we have, I think that when we all agree on an artistic choice that we know the direction is right.

Now the next decision was where do we place Jay, do we show him inside or outside of Digitopia?

Initially we went with the idea that he should be inside, and that we can use the buildings for framing with Jay’s shadow replaced by Natiahs’.

The great thing about our conversations are that it is a starting point, as soon as we put ink to page, or stylus to Wacom in our case, the answer tends to present itself more vividly.


…and so the idea of placing Jay inside the city was replaced with placing him in the area that is flooded outside of Digitopia. A second thing that we learnt from putting Jay outside in the flood plains was that we could update the concept of the ‘shadow’ with a ‘reflection’


The next stage we added in some details for what Jay and Jay’s’ reflection would hold in their hands – we wanted to show that Jay is at the tipping point of a choice.  The route he could go down is shown in his reflection.


This is where we came up with the idea that Jay would be holding a blood stained teddy bear (possible the same bear as you see in page 1). The bear replaced in the reflection with a rifle, showing that what reflects of Jay is not just what he could become if he takes the wrong path – but actually what Jay is seeing himself as already.


The Colouring Choices to add Subtext

With the concept inked out, the next stage is the colouring – well I say the next stage is the colouring, but more accurately, Simon is always looking at the colouring even from the early context, he had a very clear idea of which colour palette could be used in here.


The next choice was to go really bold on both the background colour, water and blood or go for a more muted look

After a bit of back and forth on this and adding a drop shadow on it, the final choice was the positioning of the title and credits, above we had the title above and the credits below in classic comic book cover.

At the last minute, and I’m not sure where the idea came from, but Simon presented an idea with the titles and credits on the right of the page.


Having the title go down the side will cover up the city in the background, for me I thought it had more impact written this way.  I think that the larger text  worked better, I have to consider things like how would this look at thumbnail size, especially for when we eventually publish it on various online platforms.

So that is how we came up with the final cover.  With covers one different decision at any point can radically change the way it comes out.

What do you think?

Different concept, different colours, different title positions?

Use the comments section below.

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