Sketch Cover Art – Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas Sketch Cover - Step by step...
The Nightmare Before Christmas Sketch Cover – Step by step…

How Davy Creates Sketch Covers

STEP ONE: PENCIL SKETCH – The first thing I do is come up with an idea. Then I work my magic with a pencil sketch. But BEFORE any pencils get sharpened, I must reveal a huge secret…


Yes, before I begin sketching away on those sketch covers, I take a deep breath and take a big step backwards. If you erase or smudge the pencil lead, you damage the integrity of the bristol board. I am asked how I get my markers to blend so smoothly. This is my secret. I do not draw on the actual cover.

The first step is actually to scan the cover full size and print out a color copy. I pencil my concept onto the print from my printer. Once the loos sketch is perfect, I tighten the pencils to the point shown above in the first image.

STEP TWO – INKS – The next step is to ink the cover. And now it is time for ANOTHER SECRET!!!


I take the pencil sketch back to the printer which doubles as a scanner… and I scan it and print the scan out. WHAT??? WHY??? I do that becuase I now take the print of the scan and tape it to the back of the blank cover. I do this so the work stays clean. Taping the original to the back will leave lead everywhere.

Now I turn on my light table and start inking. I use pens with hard tips and with brush tips. My favorite brand of pens are Faber Castel. A few cartoonists have told me these pens are not tools a professional should be using. I love them though. They do not bleed when I add markers.

STEP THREE – MARKERS – Now it is time to make the art pop off the page. For years, I only used gray markers because I could not afford the color markers. Slowly, I purchased color makers as I sold the gray covers. Now, I only do grayscale commissions when the buyer cannot afford the price I charge for a color drawing.

Some covers do NOT take markers well. This cover was one of them. Some covers are a little slick and cause the markers to dry upon coating so blending is nearly impossible. I am getting better and recognizing the bad covers before I buy them, but as in this case sometimes they slip into my purchases.

STEP FOUR – PAINTING – To finish up my amazing art, I sometimes need to do a little painting. The paint covers up areas where the markers cannot cover. I like to draw big. By that, I mean I like to draw on top of the logos located at the top of the covers. In order to make my concepts work, I paint over the logos with Gouache paint…. which is VERY HARD!!!! The reason I use it though is because it blends in seamlessly with the alcohol -based markers.


Email me at if you would like to buy some art. I will draw whatever you want on any of my sketch cover!


#comics #charmysarmy #webcomics #davyjones #cartoonistdavyjones #GoComics #KingFeatures #newspapercomicstrips

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