In this session, we were joined by one of our most outrageous (in a good way) friends, Scott Serkland, a self confessed 'Mad Creator'.

Scott has over 20 years' experience as a professional artist and entrepreneur and is the creative scientist behind Serkworks Art Labs, a company that specialises in the art of mad science. Serkworks was founded from the question, “If I was an evil genius, where would I go to find everything I need to carry out my nefarious plans?” With no one providing the answer, Scott decided to tackle the supply himself. Basically, if you have a love of robots, aliens, zombies, and other imminent threats to humanity, Serkworks probably has just the thing for you.

For this session, we honed in on one of Scott's many specialist skills: making comics. And what better place to start than the cover? Watch this session and we have no doubt you'll be whipped up into an alternative universe where imagination battles design guides for hero status.

Build the Background

Start with a blank canvas on Photoshop and choose the American cover template. Get rid of the instruction pages and select a layout to begin. Select the 2 Port perspective layer from the perspective grids. Copy this perspective from the Illustrator and paste it on your Photoshop layer by importing it as a smart object. Scale this to a proper view and bring down the opacity. Find some buildings and facades on Illustrator. Copy and paste the building and scale it as per the size shown in the image below. 

Convert this building to a raster file and skew it into perspective, by clicking on edit, free transform and then click on ‘Control’ to move it around. See the image below for reference. 

Pick another skyscraper building and paste it in the background. Scale it, rasterize it and then move it into perspective. In order to make it look like it's standing behind the main building, get rid of some of the parts of the building, apply a mask and delete areas that you don’t require. 

Add a similar building to the other side as well by pasting it. Skew it, resize it and add in perspective. Get rid of any extra or overlapping lines by masking and deleting it. 

Add Effects

Go to Illustrator and select wind and smoke in the props and effects folder. Create an action scene by pasting the smoke effects to Photoshop. Convert it to a smart object and delete the areas that you don’t need by masking it. 

On Illustrator, find rocks and debris in the respective folders and add them on your background layer on Photoshop. 

Pro tip: Make sure to raster and mask all files that you’re adding. 

Add Sound Effects

Go back to Illustrator and grab a sound effect from the folder. Copy and paste it onto your main file.

Design the Logo

Search for logo design grids on Illustrator and click on the outlines file. Pick a 3D rectangle, paste it on a new file and scale it. Create another layer and type your words, ‘COMIC BOOK WORLD BUILDER’ using the Dialog Font. With comic books, you usually need to stretch the words to grab the impact and attention, similarly scale the words, ‘COMIC BOOK WORLD BUILDER’, and apply perspective.

To add an extruder feature to this, copy and paste the words again. Use the pin tool and match it with the written words. See image below for reference. 

Copy and paste this and drag it onto your main Photoshop comic book cover file. Mask this layer too.

Add Character

Look at some character poses on Illustrator by choosing the male folder and then pick any superhero figure that you might like. Add a new layer and paste it. Scale the size and reduce the opacity. Create another layer and pick the Comic Pencil Brush. Choose a blue color and sketch this down, by tracing the character. 

If you need to add elements, just sketch and flare it out. For example, add gloves and a cape on this character. To do this, sketch a cape with the same brush and flare it out. 

Add Expressions

Choose the male expression folder on Illustrator and either pick an expression from there or create one with brushes. To add, simply copy and paste an angry expression for this one. You can even move the eyes and other details that you’d like and then finally add hair.

To copy, select the outside area as selection and inverse the selection and paste on your main file. 

Add Word Balloons

Go to Illustrator and select the Word Balloons file. Pick a balloon from the folder and zoom in. Pick the Cool Box Font and add words, ‘Your reign of terror has come to an end’. Add the text in that dialog box and make the words a little bolder. Copy this and paste it on the main file. 

Pro tip: When you're designing a comic book, use an atmosphere perspective, which means that anything that's further in the background is going to be thinner and anything that's more in the foreground is going to be a little bit thicker as you can see with the hero here. It's kind of dependent on where you want to pull the eye. So the hero should be the focus, more than the big rock in the foreground. 

Add Finishing Details

Add cracks in the building to make it look destructed, show exposed bricks, add smoke stacks, etc. Tweak them in different compositions around the buildings to make it look more dramatic. 

That’s it! Your comic book cover is ready to go for a spin. The Amazing Comic Book World Builder Pack brings your love of comic books to life. It consists of master page templates, mastheads, logo grids, backgrounds, reference poses, props, word balloons, expressions, sounds effects, fonts and perspective guides.