The royblake Blog

Deconstructing Hulk #1 Cover Recreation

I originally drew this recreation of Marvel Comics The Incredible Hulk issue one (May, 1962 cover date) back in early 2013 on 11x14 bristol board and then inked and colored it with Prismacolor markers. However, I was never very happy with the outcome. Seeing the framed picture on my studio wall every day probably didn't help either. There were issues with the proportion of the Hulk himself, a partial cutoff of the hands, poor lettering on my part, uneven colors, and a few other niggling items.

Fortunately, I scanned in the drawing after inking but before coloring. Using Photoshop CS6's stitching system, I digitized sections of the bristol board with my regular scanner and providing enough overlap that allowed Photoshop to assemble them into one large image. This is a cool trick that saves the hassle of buying and dealing with a large format scanner for occasional digitizing.

Fast forward a couple years later, I'm primarily all digital, using Clip Studio and a Surface Pro 3 (4 gigabytes memory, I5 processor) with a stylus. I decided to edit the drawing digitally and make some of those changes mentioned earlier. The scanned image size presented no real problem when loading into the Surface Pro 3 and stylus lag was non existent.

Using the lasso tool, I began selecting the Hulk's upper body outline and then shrank it to more closely match his waist and leg proportions. This change also allowed for more room on the sides to add in more features of the hands. I then shifted the entire image up slightly in order to show the creature's feet. Finally, I made changes to the soldier's torso as I felt it was too long in camparison to the rest of his body.

After performing these edits, I could now pencil in the additional changes to the Hulk and fill in areas previously obscured by his upper body or the paper border, such as the hands, feet, and additional detail to the aforementiond soldier. The head received a few changes that allowed for closer resemblence to the original cover.

Once I penciled in sufficient detail, I began the digital inking process on a new layer. Clip Studio has an incredible array of inking tools that allows for a wide variety of styles and precision levels. After inking completion of the original scene, I also added radiating action lines - something that the actual cover had but I chose not to include in my recreation, originally.

For the lettering, I decided to go a different route. I located a high resolution scan of the comic's cover and used Photoshop to extract the lettering and logo. The lettering was then composited as a new layer on my recreation. Strategic erasing of the lettering obscured by the Hulk's shoulder and arm allowed for a seamless integration.

For coloring, I decided to use a limited palette, just as the original colorists were limited to back in the 1960s. Back then, the cover was usually printed on higher quality paper and utilized several shades of the same color compared to the interior pages. For this cover, very few colors were used - most of the color shades were utilized on the Hulk himself.

Overall, I was pleased with the changes and it was fairly painless to make them. I was able to apply new digital workflow techniques that I learned from projects in between the original recreation and this enhancement.

Thanks for reading!