Image Comics: Nic, you do the art on DRIFTER from top to bottom. What's your favorite part of the process, the part where you feel most excited to put pen to (figurative) paper?
Nic Klein: I can’t really say I have a definitive favourite. On some days I get excited when a pencil drawing turns out better than expected, and sometimes the colors feel best, especially when happy accidents occur. It has alot to do with state of mind.
DRIFTER #1, pages 14-15, layout:
DRIFTER #1, pages 14-15, inks:
DRIFTER #1, pages 14-15, basic color:
DRIFTER #1, pages 14-15, basic shadows:
DRIFTER #1, pages 14-15, final:
IC: Your art is incredibly detailed. When I look at the basic shadows stage of your artwork, I see a comic that already looks great, but then the final revision makes it look even better. How do you know when a page is done?
NK: To be honest, I have no idea. Sometimes the point of finish is achieved when I’ve been through every step that I usually go through (pencils, inks, colors), but sometimes a page needs less polish than the page before. Or something catches my eye that I want to noodle away on some more... most of it is based on intuition, so it's hard to put into words. After drawing for a few years, you (hopefully) develop an eye for when to continue and when it's better to pull the brake. Sometimes the finish is just based on worldly needs like deadline dates or sleep.
DRIFTER #1, page 18, layout:
DRIFTER #1, page 18, pencils:
DRIFTER #1, page 18, inks:
DRIFTER #1, page 18, flats:
DRIFTER #1, page 18, background color:
DRIFTER #1, page 18, figure color:
DRIFTER #1, page 18, final:
IC: How did you define the palette for DRIFTER? What kind of feel are you going for?
NK: I try to chose the palette according to scenes, like color coding. If a scene takes place in the bar for example, everything has a green feel to it. It has a recognizable factor to it; even at first glance you should (hopefully) know that the scene has changed and maybe even where we are, subconsciously. Also, atmoshpere is really important to us on this book, so the palette for the different scenes is based on a mix of emotional effect and storytelling. Most of the daytime scenes outside in Ghostown have a very warm, saturated look. This was because I wanted to evoke the warmth of their desert surroundings, whereas the caves are very earthy and dark in comparison. Ideally, I want to achieve a completely different feeling for every scene.
DRIFTER #4, page 10, layout:
DRIFTER #4, page 10, inks:
DRIFTER #4, page 10, background colors:
DRIFTER #4, page 10, final:
IC: Ivan, here's an easy one for you: what's your favorite aspect of Nic's artwork?
Ivan Brandon: Nic and I are both obsessive in completely different ways, so when we work together it's like I have access to these powers that I can't really control and will probably get me killed. I guess I'd really say the thing I love the most is his gift for atmosphere. Mood for me is profoundly important and Nic can take something weird and otherworldly and make it seem incredibly personal and grounded.
DRIFTER #5, page 4, layout:
DRIFTER #5, page 4, inks:
DRIFTER #5, page 4, background colors:
DRIFTER #5, page 4, figure flats:
DRIFTER #5, page 4, figure rendering:
DRIFTER #5, page 4, final tweaks: