The Making of “A Bargain Made” for Horror Haikus

For Halloween 2016, I participated in a call for writers and artists to collaborate for Black Ship Books’ “Horror Haikus”. It is a challenge to comic creators to collaborate on one-page stories fit for Halloween while incorporating only 17 textual elements (to mirror the syllabic constraints of a traditional haiku).  All of the finished haikus can be seen at Black Ship Books horror haikus page.

My individual assignment is featured here, titled “A Bargain Made.”  I was teamed up with writer Agustin Guerrero and editor Evan Henry. What follows below is how I went about creating the artwork for my page.

A Bargain Made doodles by Rene Arreola
Upon receiving and printing out the script for “A Bargain Made”, I almost immediately made some quick doodle notes alongside the writer’s story.
A Bargain Made thumbnails by Rene Arreola
Here are my somewhat detailed thumbnails.
A Bargain Made rough layouts by Rene Arreola
Using the thumbnails as a guide, I start the rough layouts on the actual art boards.
A Bargain Made final pencil art by Rene Arreola
Now comes the tighter pencil drawing.


A Bargain Made final ink art by Rene Arreola
After rendering all the detail I needed in pencil, I go to town inking.
A Bargain Made blue line art print - Rene Arreola
But the artwork did not stop after the inking. Some kind of gray tones needed to be added. Upon figuring out how I wanted to do this, I decide on painting the tones with watercolor, so I print out the artwork in a light blue ink onto an 11″ x 17″ bristol board using my printer.
A Bargain Made comic book art by Rene Arreola
And now, the actual size of the finished art..both of them! Because this page called for 9 panels, I felt I needed to work larger to get in the detail I wanted. The inked artwork was done on two 11″ x 17″ pieces of bristol board. The gray tones were done on just a single 11″ x 17″ bristol board.
A Bargain Made water color washes by Rene Arreola
I print my original black ink artwork at roughly 50% of actual size in light, non-repro blue and use it as a guide to paint in the watercolor washes. This is all done with traditional media.


A Bargain Made Horror Haiku art by Rene Arreola
After the watercolor washes are complete, I scan it all into Photoshop and composite both my lineart and my watercolor art to produce the final piece.