Full Coverage: How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad panel at Comic-Con

I have a long history of being labeled crazy.  I started my life in comic books just out of high school coloring Captain Crafty comic books by hand with watercolor paints and airbrushing covers. In the early nineties print publishing was transitioning from traditional mechanical methods to digital layout and design. I was well entrenched in the desktop publishing revolution using an Apple Macintosh computer for all my print publishing work. Eventually I began experimenting with digital color for comic book artwork (I was hardly the first to do so as Steve Oliff had colored Akira digitally as early as 1988). I would attend comic book conventions and show my portfolio to editors and publishers. Some would “get it” right away while others would say, “Digital Color? You’re crazy, that will never catch on.” In 1998 Kristy and I founded Hi-Fi colour design and started coloring Cable, X-Men, and Wolverine comic books for Marvel. The rest is history. Hi-Fi colour design has grown into a studio of talented artist and we have colored every major comic book for publishers around the world. We even color and paint artwork for toy makers, movie studios, and video game companies. Kristy and I have been fortunate enough to write 2 books about digital color titled, Hi-Fi Color for Comics and Master Digital Color. We learned there is a craving for comic book art education from professionals who can provide real world experience. Many artist never share their secrets, we want to give every artist the information they need to unleash their creativity.


With the iPad Apple has once again changed the face of publishing.


With the iPad Apple has once again changed the face of publishing. Millions of people are now reading books and comic books with the iPad. With the release of SketchBook Pro for iPad Autodesk has made it possible to create comic book artwork with the iPad as well. I downloaded SketchBook Pro for iPad and immediately fell in love. I painted an Iron Man cover on the plane while traveling to New York for a meeting with Marvel Press. I painted a Boba Fett illustration in collaboration with another artist who provided a thumbnail sketch via e-mail. SketchBook Pro for iPad allowed me to sketch and paint anytime, anywhere and share my paintings with friends. I loved the software and there was even some high profile news when DC Entertainment publisher Jim Lee shared a painting of Wonder Woman he had created with SketchBook pro for iPad.


There was a problem though, the software was so new and advanced many people were unsure exactly what it could do. I would speak to other comic book creators who would say, “I really like SketchBook Pro but it doesn’t have a smudge tool,” then I would show them how to use the Smudge Brush in SketchBook Pro. Someone else would complain of the lack of pressure sensitivity on the iPad. I would show them the ingenious Brush Properties puck allowing for brush size and opacity changes on the fly. After answering many of these questions I realized what comic book creators needed was a manual that spoke to them in their own language. A guide to paint comic books using SketchBook Pro for iPad.


 I realized what comic book creators needed was a manual that spoke to them in their own language.


We were lucky enough debut, How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad, on Preview Night at Comic-Con International 2012 (aka San Diego Comic-Con) and it felt like the early nineties all over again. Some people say, “You can’t paint comic book art on the iPad. That will never work,” then I show them comic book art created with SketchBook Pro for iPad. Luckily there are many more people who “get it” than there are naysayers. Kristy and I walked into a packed Room 11AB Friday at Comic-Con to present a panel showcasing SketchBook Pro and the iPad for comic book artist. Demonstrating the various features of SketchBook Pro and Hi-Fi techniques while painting Spider-Man was a lot of fun. Then I showed how to paint the beautiful Black Widow and at the end of the demonstrations fans were on their feet.


While the applause is nice the Q&A session was even better. Because painting comics with the iPad is the cutting edge compared to other types of traditional and digital mediums we found our panel packed full of early adopters, well versed in the iPad and the various image editing software available. Technical questions came flying about resolution, layers, RGB color, and supported file types. Next were questions focused on creative areas like how to paint faces, how to paint with a variety of brushes, and how to blend colors. Kristy and I answered every question and demonstrated techniques for best results. We even had the old, “I don’t use SketchBook Pro for iPad because there is no way to smudge colors,” statement come up again which provided ample opportunity to demonstrate the Smudge Brush in SketchBook Pro for iPad (which works very well by the way).


At the end of the panel Kristy and I unveiled the new book, How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad. We were able to show off some of the Multi-Touch features like interactive image galleries that allow you to swipe through step-by-step versions of a painting from start to finish. One feature of the book panel attendees enjoyed most were the video tutorials for key techniques and important areas of painting like the face and human figure. Kristy and I also showed the crowd the interactive chapter reviews and the ability to take notes. While much of the audience already used SketchBook Pro for iPad we know not everyone who downloads How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad will have experience with the app. This gave us the opportunity to demonstrate the interactive slideshow in the book that labels and explains of every tool and feature found in SketchBook Pro for iPad. We finished the panel by letting fans know that a sample tutorial is available to download FREE from the iBookstore.


The interactive slideshow labels and explains of every tool in SketchBook Pro for iPad.


After the panel people would stop by the convention booth and let us know how much they enjoyed the presentation or for personal help with a SketchBook Pro for iPad question. Kristy and I enjoyed chatting with everyone and their experiences with comic book artwork on the iPad. The following day some people even came back who had downloaded a copy of How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad and were already working their way through the tutorials. Looking at what these people had achieved in under 24 hours I thought to myself about the times people told me I was crazy. Crazy for coloring comics digitally, crazy for to write a book on comic coloring, and now crazy for painting comics with the iPad. There are a lot of us crazy ones out there creating amazing artwork with the iPad, right now, today. Some of us just need a push in the right direction. Learn how to transform your iPad into a mobile art studio with SketchBook Pro for iPad and How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad and start creating amazing comic book artwork today.

How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad panel at Comic Con

Brian and Kristy demonstrate layer management techniques while painting Spider-Man.

Starting with flat color for Black Widow's face Brian shared tips from How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad for painting beautiful faces

Panel attendees watch Black Widow painted on the big screen in Room 11AB

Scarab has was featured in Hi-Fi Color for Comics and Master Digital Color and makes an appearance in How to Paint Comic books with the iPad too.

Standing room only in Room 11AB for the panel at Comic-Con

How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad debuts at Comic Con

Brian & Kristy Miller at Comic-Con International

With SketchBook Pro for iPad and How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad you will learn how to transform your iPad into a mobile art studio.

Download a FREE sample or the full book from the iBookstore today.

Available on the iBookstore