The Making Of The Final Plague by Tony Guaraldi-Brown

by Rob Caprilozzi

Hey folks, here is where I’m going to explain my process for the artwork of The Final Plague. I’m showing you the final cover with text and everything so you know where I intended to be in the end.

The book is about a plague that infects animals and turns them into rabid creatures, in turn motivating them to attack human kind. Chaos ensues and it’s a whole bloody mess, as you’ll see with the second piece I’ll talk about below.

The story is mainly focused around a farm family in Iowa so when thinking about what to create for the cover I wanted to symbolically represent the family and the idea without being heavy handed. I feel that comics have a tendency to do that and that publishers think we the readers are idiots so they over explain everything.

I had already finishing the interior art and knew how the feel of the book looked and what were the important elements in the story. So with that and my love of pulp art I decided to go with an overall menacing figure to show the idea of impending doom with our characters. There is no red-cloaked figure of Pestilence in the book, but I would hope that my readers are intelligent enough to understand visual symbolism, ha-ha.


I first started off with a few larger scale sketches to get the idea of how I wanted my cover and composition to look. I then shot a couple of photos of myself in the drawn pose just to make sure I got the draping and hand position correct. It’s the cover; you want it to look right!

After uploading the pics, it was time to start drawing and inking. Unfortunately, I did not get a scan of the pencils but you will see what that is like in the next piece I talk about. Here are the inks to the page.

I use Strathmore 400 watercolor paper, a the Japanese version of the Pentel waterproof color brush (black), #3 brushes, a mix of Speedball Superblack and Yasumoto ink as well as Grumbacher watercolors. I size my drawing at 19.5×13 because that is the size I feel comfortable drawing at; big!

Because I knew that the piece was going to be hand colored I didn’t spend time or energy creating any grays, just flat blacks and line work with texture here and there.

After being satisfied with the inks, I laid down my watercolors. This was a coloring job not a painting; otherwise I would have done the watercolors first. You can see how I go with the strongest colors first and then play off their compliments in the skin tone to push and pull as well as give an uneasy feeling (green with red, violet with yellow, blue with orange).

So below you see I added in more detail color as well as put in the clouds and solidified the sunset. I finished up the piece and sent it to the writer and the editor and we came to a consensus that the color needed to be dropped down so I added a sepia tone over the top of the art to push back the colors and visually help connect it with the art in the interior. It’s always good to remember to leave space at the top for your title and credits as well as a bit at the bottom for any other credits or codes that need to go into place.

(Text for interior art Issue #2 page 22)
Below are images for my process for page 22 of issue #2. Same process, sketch, photo, draw, ink, and watercolor. The size is 19.5x 13 on Strathmore 400 watercolor paper. Then touch ups in Photoshop and desaturation. I like to color strong and desaturate in Photoshop.

Yup, that’s me. You are your cheapest model, so if you don’t have money or time to get a pro and you live out in the middle of no where like me set the timer on your camera and get what you need to make your art look the best.

And there you are, pencils, inks, watercolors and a bit of Photoshop. Lately I’ve been laying down grey washes and using the overlay brush tool in Photoshop to simulate the watercolor effect on my interior art. It saves a bit of time but is not as fun a tool to work with as a brush, water and pigment. If I’m asked again, I’ll show you how I use Photoshop to color the ink washes.

If you have any questions, comments or want to look at more of my work you can visit my site, or email me at Thanks for taking the time to check out how I do things.

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