START TO FINISH
A page or a cover begins with a rough or a thumbnail sketch, very loose, that serves to give the idea for composition and design; lighting, etc. ... there are rarely detailed pencil drawings, and many times are done in a pilot pen. My layouts are a scribbly mess and I'm constantly surprised when my editors (claim to) decipher them.
From the rough stage, I will shoot reference using a friend or family member as a model, working from my roughs. I light them, pose them and try to inspire them to give me something I can work with: many times, things I haven't yet worked out in a rough sketch will make themselves clear in the photo-ref stage.
After I shoot the ref and get it developed, I'll do a tight blueprint-like pencil drawing, tight and spare on the board I'm going to paint on. From that point on, the board gets taped down to my drawing board (titled at a 25% angle or thereabouts) using a combination of white paper tape, plastic packing tape (the packing tape is strong: you use it over the paper tape, not directly on the board surface -- that way lies madness and tearing) and sometimes masking tape. I use a 1/4 inch wide white paper tape for the panel borders, when needed.
In the painting stages I begin with a simple and transparent wash of a bright color, usually either blue or orange. I let this dry. The wash of color will help pull the colors together I'll add later to give a quality of temperature to the light sources (cool light, warm light, what ever is needed).
After the board is dry and tight on the table, I start the real painting. Beginning with the medium-dark values, I block in the shadow areas first, rather than starting light-to-dark. The painting comes into focus much more rapidly this way, and I can work out from the darks to the lights. If I screw something up , I can lift what I can using a watered-down brush, and what I can't remove or pick off, I'll cover with gesso or a watercolor-gesso mix.
An interior page can take anywhere from 4 to 16 hours, depending on what's going on on the page. The average page takes 6-8 hours. Cover paintings can take me anywhere from 8 to 20 hours, but I can usually get either a page or cover done in a night if I don't screw-off, and I buckle down and work.
Watercolor tends to be a fast medium, and that's one of the reasons I like it. I also like that I can use the same paints on a palette over and over because wetting the paint gets it ready to go again, whereas using acrylics means laying down a new palette of fresh paint every night. Oils? Forget it. I never had the time or the money in art school to experiment with them, which is regrettable, but I'd never use them to paint comic book pages, regardless, because the idea seems totally ridiculous to me ... it's silly enough that I use watercolor to paint comic books, as it is ...
I don't know if I consider all this "technique", to be honest, its more just the way I've taught myself to work over the last 12 years that doesn't end up in disaster! It's more a survival plan than a perfected way of working ...
Many people ask about style. Style is something that differentiates one artist's work from another, but can you plan or craft it? I'm sure some artists think they can, but I believe you can't craft style anymore than you can change your personality. Style is opinion, it's character. It's your signature, the thing that defines you regardless of how hard you might try to disguise it. Everyone has style, but it tends to come out when you're most comfortable with your art. To have a distinctive style, I don't believe one needs to be skilled, just passionate.