Grandville Comic Art Masterclass

Grandville by Bryan Talbot was one of the best graphic novels of the past decade. Now the sequel, Grandville Mon Amour , is upon us and Talbot himself takes us through the creation of a panel from it…


1 Pencils

Bryan Talbot: “The pencils for panel one, page 42, done traditionally on a drawing board. You can see where I’ve allowed space for text, estimating the size of the speech balloons and placing them so that the order in which they’re to be read is obvious.”

2 Inking

“Next, the pencils are inked using a mixture of pens and brushes. After inking, the pencil lines are erased and the artwork scanned into the computer. The inks are cleaned up and any smudges or mistakes corrected. Traditionally this was done using white gouache paint. This is the point where I add the balloons, using my own font. The lettering layer stays on top of the others.”

3 Colouring

“Next come the colour flats: the different areas of the illustration that are selected and filled with different solid colours on a layer beneath the linework. Just over half the colour flats in Grandville Mon Amour were done by Jesse Kindzierski, daughter of the famous US comic colourist Lovern Kindzierski. The rest by my mate, the designer Jordan Smith. Having someone else do the flats saves time and enables me to start on the rendering.”

4 Adjustment

“I can then select each area easily by using the Magic Wand tool, change or adjust the colours and render them in a way that’s very similar to painting, mainly using the Dodge and Burn tools and the Airbrush to create the light, shade and texture.”

5 Finished!

“And here’s the finished panel. The smoke and light effects are ‘painted’ in white on different layers over the black line layer. Finally I’ve added a green colour layer at 18 per cent opacity to this and the rest of the panels in this sequence to add atmosphere to the chapter.”

Dave Golder
Freelance Writer

Dave is a TV and film journalist who specializes in the science fiction and fantasy genres. He's written books about film posters and post-apocalypses, alongside writing for SFX Magazine for many years.