A brutal chase between former clandestine terrorist operatives unfolds with today’s debut of SAVAGE THINGS. Series artist and co-creator Ibrahim Moustafa is here to give us a head start with an introduction to unpredictable associates Abel and Kira, and an exclusive, step-by-step look at his process for crafting chaos.
I start by reading Justin Jordan's script all the way through, then I plan out each page of the issue digitally using my Cintiq. I draw the pages using the colors cyan and magenta. This makes it easier to distinguish the different elements from one another in this rough stage, and is helpful later in the process (more on that in a bit!).
This is the stage where 90 percent of the problem-solving is handled. Here, I'll decide panel layouts, which direction I'd like to guide the reader's eye, what kind of body language fits each character's dialogue and presence, and what key elements of each page are most essential to communicate to the reader.
When the digital layouts are done, I print out each page onto 11" x 17" comic art board at a light opacity so that the digital drawing has a distinguishable but light presence on the physical page. At this point I've also added the black panel borders digitally and then printed them, in order to save myself the time and trouble of drawing them in manually with a ruler. Next, I use blue and red pencils to fill in the details of the page that need more clarity, such as faces and more rigid objects like furniture, buildings, vehicles, etc. In some cases, I'll use regular gray graphite to help with this as well.
Once I've tightened up the necessary elements with pencil, I use a brush, pens, and nibs to ink the page. Then I scan the inked page into Photoshop. Because I've used cyan and magenta in the digital planning stage, and blue and red pencils before inking, I can simply select the colors with a couple of mouse clicks in Photoshop, then delete them, leaving me with only the black and white information on the page.
The last step is to adjust the image in order to eliminate unwanted gray tones and ensure the levels of black are even to allow for a nice, clean page for Jordan Boyd to color.