The Art of Charlie Valor

A lot goes into the process of creating the Charlie Valor comic book.

Our creative team is made up of illustrator, Tim Baron, graphic designer, Maddie Skinner, web master, Tim Schuhler, and writers, Jenny Murphy and Deana Croussore. Before we sit down to hash out a new issue of The Complicated World of Charlie Valor, we get input from our fearless leaders, Lisa Grote and Mitzi Thomas, about the important topics they would like for us to cover. Then our creative team goes into a room to develop characters, bounce plot ideas around, and brainstorm ideas as to how the story might play out.

The Storytellers

Next, Jenny and Deana take the team's ideas and hammer out a script, usually laughing over all the potential situations Burrito could find himself in. They present the script to the group, and after tweaks are made, the issue is ready for graphics. With the hand-off of the script, they create character bios, discussion questions, and search for helpful resources to go along with the issue's main topic.

The Artists

Tim B., then gets to work cranking out some thumbnail images of the story, characters, and villains—finally emerging with storyboards. Back to the group we go. And for the rest of the team it's like Christmas morning getting to see how the words and images play together. After review and tweaks, Tim B. crawls back in his cubicle to refine the sketches and ink them.

With inked images in hand, he scans the cells as digital files. Tim S. and Maddie jump in to add lettering and pull the issue together in booklet form. Meanwhile, Tim B. adds finishing touches and color to a new epic cover. Finally, we have a great piece of modern comic fiction—ready for print.

The Web Guy

Now, it's Tim S.'s turn to work with those hieroglyphs that he calls code to freshen the website and launch the new issue of Charlie into the world. Mega menus, rotating banners, coordinated colors, dynamic new promo video, activities and other cool stuff for kids, all before an eBlast and a note to the folks on Charlie's Team.

The Promoter

Throughout the process, Kathy Turner is hard at work promoting The Complicated World of Charlie Valor to the public. She makes sure that the comic series doesn't just sit and look pretty, but actually gets into the hands of those who will use it to help kids.

And voila—Charlie and his friends have a fresh look, a new villain to defeat, and are ready to go out into the world.

View the Artwork

Below are some images of the intro page of Issue 2 as it progressed from thumbnails to printed work of art, as well as some concept sketches for the characters. To see a larger version of the image, just click on the thumbnail.

Work Progression

Preliminary thumbnail sketch. Refined sketch for layout. Inked art board. Scanned and lettered page.

Concept Art

Charlie Concept. Talon Concept. Early character concepts. Space bike concept sketch. Luna Dooma concept sketch. Bully concept sketch. Early Brutus Concept. Early Bully Concept. Unused cover design from issue 3. Lars in a bunny suit. Early alien sketch. Early alien sketch. Alien color sketch.

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