My First Cover Process

My First Cover Process

6 Step by Step

The very first cover I ever done for the comic book industry was: Battlestar Galactica Six Issue #3. In this article I’ll break down the process of creating a cover for a comic book publisher. 

First you’ll get the request from the editor to work on a cover and if you accept it (of course you will) he’ll send you a brief description about what you need to work on.

What you are about to see now is the briefing the editor sent me to work on this cover. This is a highly private discussion that by the time it’s taking place it’s considered TOP SECRET!!!! 007 Kind!

Here’s how it goes:

Hey Rod, 

We’d like you to do the covers for Battlestar Galactica: Six series for issues #3, 4, and #5.

Can you please do the cover for #4 first?  Here is the solicit copy for the issue.

Battlestar Galactica: Six #4 – Number Six, like the other humanoid Cylons, has been designed to be human in every way. If that’s the case, then how can she be sure what she really is on the inside? In order to know the truth for certain, she’ll have to take a leap of faith. But will she fly high or crash and burn?

When can you provide cover layouts for me to look at?


And now we start the process:

1 – Creating the lay-out: I wanted to give the editor 6 choices for the cover. I made thumbnails for the editor to choose from. The character was in a dilemma: am I Human or Cylon? So, I came up with the idea of dividing her in two, partly metal partly real… Just missed the silver wings and nerves of steel… (Comment below if you know what’s this reference about ;P).


Once the editor approves and chooses the cover idea it’s time to start drawing. It’s a good idea to number the layouts for easy identification. In this case the editor choose #2.

IMPORTANT: Remember to leave space for the title of the issue on top of the cover and credits in the bottom.

NOTE: The Covers as well as all sequential pages were done digitally.

2 – Now it’s time to sketch the idea in the real size. I like to use a blue or red brush when sketching…just a personal taste of mine.


3 – Change the opacity of this layer and create a new layer called pencils to tight things up.


4 – Turn off your sketch layer and change the opacity of the pencils. Create a new layer called inks and start inking.


5 – Now that you have the character done you’ll have to create the background. Better to do that in a new Layer 😉


6 – Save your cover in 400dpi, CMYK, TIFF format and send them over for approval. Once it’s approved it will be sent to the colorist and the logo of the issue will be inserted and it will look something like this:


Congratulations!! Now you have your first comic book cover!!! 😀


NEXT: How To Create a Great Portfolio.

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