Where Do Comic Books Come From? A Spotty Productions Studio Tour!

in comics •  last year

With the growing widespread appeal of comic books in mainstream popular culture such as the Saturday matinee at the local cinema, or on your very own home television set, more and more children are starting to inquire, "Mommy and Daddy, where do comic books come from?" Rather than resort to a standard reply of, "When a mommy comic book and a daddy comic book love each other very much..." it is best to have a candid and honest discussion with inquisitive youth about the realities of reproduction. You can show your children where comics are born as they head on their way to reproduction on the printed page!

Just Being Silly... Maybe It's Windex Fumes?

Ok, 50's educational video opener aside... I'd been meaning to give a little studio tour of my workroom for a while, and since I just spent the last couple hours doing some long overdue cleaning and tidying, now seems like a perfect time!

I love seeing the workspaces of other artists. One of my favorite magazines, ImagineFX even shows a different artists studio in a dedicated monthly column and I always look forward to seeing them. No one's yet breaking down my door to feature me in a magazine, so I'll just foist my pics on you all unrequested!

Some folks may be proud of their looks and post selfies... I just post studio selfies - 'cause they look a lot better than my physique! This is the studio and "corporate offices" of Spotty Production @spottyproduction which is the name I've given to my creative and publishing ventures. At the moment it is in reality just me, @bryan-imhoff. This is where I work on Appetite for Distraction, Seer, I Thought It Would Be Zombies..., and anything else that crosses my mind. Hope you enjoy!

On With The Tour!


I moved in the middle of the year, picking up more space which allowed me to set up a dedicated studio room. It's my favorite room by far. Living room, dining area, bedroom, all are very spartan in comparison. This is where the magic happens. Not in the bedroom. * sigh *


To the right of my drafting table we have some great artist mannequins, trinkets of my obsession with koala bears and Jason Statham, and a curious Baxter.


A reminder to please keep all hands and arms inside the vehicle during the tour... As we continue on, you can see over the years I've managed to amass quite a bit of reference material, a wide range of books and magazines on art and the creation of comic books. As time allows, I'd like to start sharing and reviewing some of these resources. Let me know if you'd be interested in that!


Wally Wood's 22 Panels That Always Work!! hangs a glance away from the drafting table, waiting to serve during those moments of layout panic...


I've been collecting artifacts to help inspire and illustrate my upcoming comic, "I Thought It Would Be Zombies..." The book is from 1859, the year of a massive solar flare known as the Carrington Event which will be integral in my story. The photo is a "Carte de Visite" from around the same time which I used to "cast" one of my characters as well.


I own a few pieces of original comic art. This is one of my favorites. It comes from Incredible Hulk #378 from 1991, with art by Bill Jaaska and Jeff Albrecht. The supervillain known as the Rhino dressed up as Santa Claus to avoid capture and finds himself sitting in as a mall Santa before winding up in a brawl with the Hulk. It was a delightfully whimsical issue that was a favorite of mine as a kid. I saw a couple pages for sale cheap at a comic convention in the early 2000s and grabbed them both. Seeing the craftsmanship and beauty of original comic pages is always informational and inspirational.


Although I work mainly digitally now, I like to print out some of my works to decorate, keep motivated, and reference back to easily. I have a beastly Epson WorkForce 1100 printer that can handle high quality inkjet prints on large format bristol board. I have spare desk space now that used to be occupied by a Wacom Cintiq which has passed away! Thankfully the iPad Pro has been more than capable of picking up the slack.


My desktop setup is nothing spectacular, just a Mac Mini and some external hard drives. That thing has been a solid workhorse for about 6 years now! I did recently install an SSD in it which helped rejuvenate it for another year or two. Since I'm mostly working on the iPad now, it's primarily used for serving up music and movies as I work! And of course, Kirby is the star of the show... named after famed creator Jack "King" Kirby, he and his older brother Baxter are never far away. I was tempted to share a photo of their litter box which is in the studio closet (note the air freshener hidden behind the picture of Jason Statham...), but I refrained.

Well, that's it for now! I'm so happy you stopped by... even if I did kind of abduct you against your will...

If you're a fan of comics, is there anything you'd love to see or know about their creation? Fellow artists, please share your own workspaces and work habits. As I mentioned, I love seeing that stuff and getting new ideas and inspiration!

As we head toward 2018 be sure to get your own tools shined up and ready for a year of productivity!

-Bryan "the Imp" Imhoff

Follow me @bryan-imhoff and view some of my comics @spottyproduction and reviews @exploreunlimited!
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Too clean for my tastes, I just need toys and comics tossed around and wherever that is turns into my workplace ;) Great tour! Love that original piece just mixed in with decor, great work area set up. The Jason Stathom, wtf, I knew some people that had on a mantle with family pictures a framed photo of Ric Flair that looks like it was just from a magazine. I don't know if you topped them, but I consider you on par now lol. I want to get a drafting table again. Also just found out yesterday about them fancy newer Microsoft Surface Studios. Yes, a product that came out a year ago I just found out about.


I will gladly concede to Ric Flair on the mantle! 😂 I remember looking at some promo materials for the Surface Studios when they were announced but didn’t explore further. I’ll have to dig up some in depth artist reviews of the pen input - that’s key! Overall I am entirely happy with MacOS and don’t see myself heading back to Windows unless it was absolutely mind blowing hardware!

That is an incredibly clean work area. Mine is a total mess. That body-chan figure looks like Neo getting ready to jump kick someone in the face.



A little extra on my comment upvote for providing a Jason Statham gif!

Thanks for showing us your inner sanctum! I enjoy comics, totally couldn't do them. How long does it take you to do a page, inking, coloring, all of it? It seems like it would be an eternity, especially with high quality art in each panel.


It certainly takes me a while... just one of the reasons my frequency of output is so Spotty! I think I’m on the slower end when it comes to artist speed. If I’m doing everything on an average page, pencils/inks/colors, it’s about 15-20 hours.


I salute you for your dedication! Keep it up!

Wow you really do have the Wally Wood Picture hung up! I didn't doubt, but I thought it was a figure a speech at the time. (Like you meant you took it seriously LOL). Looks like a great atmosphere to make comics. I have some Scott Pigrim, Neal Adams hung up. I use a Cintiq as well. How long did yours last? Do you like that or the Ipad pro better? (Comparing the two would be great post that a lot of artists would love hear about. At least I would find it useful). Ipad Pro has Manga Studio now (Clip Studio) so I want to try it sometime. Great tour!


My Cintiq lasted 6 or 7 years. I do miss the sheer scale of the Cintiq workspace, but the pen feel of the iPad Pro & Apple Pencil I actually find to be slightly better.
I was using Procreate but jumped right on the Clip Studio release. That really made me realize how my iPad has more processing power than my old Mac Mini! It’s been working great.

Yeh.. now im completely jeleous of your studio .. That looks like such a nice space to work! .. I'm cramped in the corner of my living room! ..

I'm moving next month to a bigger house though!.. I'm soooo looking forward to it! haha


I’m jealous of your skills, though I know they’re hard earned! You sure make the most of that corner.
Good luck with the move. I hate moving... but the results are usually worthwhile!


Yeah I hate moving too.. but it is for a good cause now :D
Don;t be silly, you are pretty damn good yourself :D

Nice studio man! Mine is way messier right now but I may have to do a tour myself one of these days. 22 panels that always work is a classic.


Would love to see a tour, mess or no mess! I really enjoy both... I think I got a bit more streamlined from a.) working at an Apple Store for a while & b.) getting cats and trying to avoid my kneaded erasers & Apple Pencil from being batted under the fridge!

That's a nice insight into your studio. I'm fascinated by how artists of all kinds work. What music do you listen to?


My music taste probably falls mainly under independent/alternative pop, rock, & metal. Lots of musical scores, movie themes too. It’s often good to pick tunes & artists that fit the mood of the current drawing. It can actually show up in the expressiveness of the lines.

Holy Moly! I hope my own home/studio someday looks like this.
What am amazing book collection.
Everythings so tidy!

wow what beauty I would like to also have my own studio, someday for now I only have a small room where I sleep hehehehe

Dang dude thats cool! I missed this in my feed :( Great studio and glad to have met you through steemit. Have a great new year and hope to see you around a lot!


Likewise on all counts!

That's a very nice studio to work in. Very well planed out. thanks for sharing.


You're welcome, thanks for reading! The work of moving residence always sucks, but the plus side is being able to start fresh and get organized!

Wow that's a great working aread. I wish I had one of those to help me concentrate. The wife just wouldn't let me! I'm glad to know you are working on the Ipad pro. I'm on the Ipad mini myself and I'm heavily considering investing in the bigger brother.

Thanks for sharing, It's very interesting! Upvoted and resteemed of course! ;-)


One of the pros of being single! There are of course cons as well!


Oh another question... Which size is your Ipad? What resolution you can draw in? I'm quite limited with the mini Ipad. I'm considering an upgrade in the months to come!


I have the largest size iPad, the 12.9” iPad Pro, so it does give pretty good room to work. It’s powerful enough to handle high resolution. Procreate had some limits, still pro quality output, but I haven’t found any boundary working with Clip Studio now. My pages are comic size (roughly 8” by 10”) at 1200dpi to keep those ink lines super crisp! It’s probably overkill, but oh well! So my canvas resolution is about 9600 x 12000 pixels. It only bogs down if I try to use things like watercolor brushes - but I drop to 600 dpi prior to coloring.


Wow 1200dpi. Totall Overkill ! Hehe good for you. I think that is what I need! I'll try a few in the app store before jumping in. Thanks for the input!

Bummer. I always thought, that your working process looks like this:


Don’t worry, you’re not far off the mark! However, the hammering and fire only come into play when a page isn’t working out. The time I spent cleaning up today was primarily used to scrape the encrusted molten steel off the desks!

Too clean & neat, I like it :)
I'm not really a comic artist but I would want a studio like this someday :)