Thursday, December 1, 2016

Making Marjorie of the Weirdlings

Hey there, Dee Fish here. For those of you that don't know me, I'm the creator and artist of the webcomic "Dandy & Company" and the graphic novel "The Wellkeeper". As an artist and storyteller, I've also co-created and drew the Hashtag Comics series "Carpe Noctem" and have drawn stories for the IDW comics "Atomic Robo", "Star Mage" and "White Chapel" and the Image Comics "The Perhapanauts" and "The Mice Templar".

That bit of exposition aside, I wanted to do a little "step by step" blog showing the techniques I'm using to bring my latest concept to life, a comic called "Marjorie of the Weirdlings". It's a new comic I'm working on centering on a young Transgender girl named Marjorie that discovers a ring that transports her to a weird and dangerous world of monsters called Weirdlings. But when she's there, she becomes the most powerful Weirdling of them all and has a serious problem: Why go home at all when you discover a magical fantasy world where you get to kick butt.

So here is a step by step of the creation of a single page from start to finish.

Step 1 is the clean line inks. Drawn on a standard sheet of Canson 11" x 17" blue lined comic board, I ink over blue pencils using a Pentel Stylo inking pen and a Pentel Pocket brush. This initial step is purposely free of rendering and is inked in a clean, open style. I scan the art in at high res and place the art in Adobe Photoshop for production.

Step 2 is the rendered inks. Using the same Pentel Stylo, I add rendering to add volume, texture, light and shadows. I re-scan the art at this step, placing it as a separate layer over the clean line inks.

Step 3 is the reduction of opacity on the rendered layer to 50%. This creates the grey rendering level used for black and white printing that I feel gives the art an animated and unique feel.

Step 4 is the application of flat colors to the line art. I decided that this comic really needs COLOR to make the WeirdWorld pop and come to proper life. I used a gradient here for the sickly yellow sky of the Weirdworld which is on a separate layer in Adobe Photoshop.

Step 5 uses the rendering line work to add modeling and depth to the color. Using the rendered line art layer, I create a selection that I can fill using darker, slightly tinted color from the flats. This enables me to give the art a modeled and rounded feel with only the line art and not the colors.

Step 6 applies a painterly texture layer over the background elements to add additional mood and texture. This is applied ONLY to the sky, rocks and smoke and helps pop the characters even more.

From here, it's a matter of adding the lettering and it's on to the next page. I hope you enjoyed this little behind the scenes peak of the Making of "Marjorie of the Weirdlings"!

The black and white, 12 page preview of the premier issue is now available as a part of "The Big Pond Comics Sampler #1" and can be ordered for JUST $3.50, online along with all the rest of my titles.




  1. Wonderful step-by-step! Thanks for sharing. Never heard of you till today and now I've watched your Facebook video and read this. I really like your artwork.

  2. Thanks for the kind words. Hope you like the comics.