Changing Ways

A graphic novel series by Justin Randall

Changing Ways book 2 behind the scenes part 4


All my pages are initially produced in black and white. I find this to be much easier when composing a frame as I can concentrate on negative/positive space, eye navigation, composition etc without contrasting hues getting in the way. All scenes are then darkened heavily in Photoshop with two layers of black at a 50% Fill. A layer mask is then added to each of these layers and that’s how I achieve the ‘glow’ effect that people often comment on.

NOTE: If you don’t use Photoshop or don’t understand Layer Masks then think of it this way. I cover the art with 2 layers of shadow. Then with a soft brush I remove areas of this shadow, giving frames an almost torch like glow. This is also why I like to render darker locations as the effect becomes more…effective.

Color control is then added in Photoshop with a combination of Color Balances, Hard light, Soft Light, Hue, Multiply and Overlay layers. Once I achieve the desired combination of light for that page, I can cut and past the colour effect layers into other pages from that same scene.

Finally I’ll add only small areas of colour for narrative purposes. In this sample, it’s used as a device to easily recognise people or entice the reader to focus on particular content. The girl to the right (pink in her hair) or Jessie (feature character on the left) who always wears red. As for the tattoo, this was originally drawn at full size with colour pencil then scanned and imported into the image with a reduced opacity and a Multiply layer mode. This layer mode makes the paper it was drawn on transparent and therefore, visually realistic.

posted under Production Diary

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