Jae Lee and June Chung’s process on the cover of Batman/Superman Annual #1
"I was not looking forward to this one. I don’t like drawing that many characters on a cover; I prefer more iconic simple designs. Too many characters with too many elements just looks like visual noise, to me. So my first task is to incorporate all of those elements and simplify them. To me, the Supes family fighting the Batman family isn’t much of a fight, so automatically, my mind constructs a visual where the Superman family is standing triumphant. Originally, I had Red Hood unloading his guns onto an unflinching Supergirl, who’s holding him up by the neck, just like in the final image, but then I was notified he now has flaming swords.
The two dead boys were a problem. I don’t like having incongruous elements floating around, and having giant ghost heads floating in the background is definitely that. So I came up with the visual gag of having Superman smashing Batman into the ground and kicking up the bones of Superboy and Robin. I worked up a quick sketch, and once it was approved, I tightened it up. Superman’s pose in the sketch had more energy, but his head kind of got lost, so I had to alter his pose to make sure nothing was around his head.
These days, I no longer ink my work. I do extremely tight pencils. My colorist, June Chung (who also happens to be my wife) then inks the work. It’s not a simple matter of darkening the lines; she goes in there with a brush in Photoshop and paints black underneath the black areas and transitions the black into grays as it approaches the feathery pencil lines. It’s a very time consuming process, but I feel like we get that inked look, but it’s something I could never accomplish on my own because my inking is too crude. And then I ask her at 5 AM to color it in 2 hours to get it into the catalogue in time. After that, I apologize profusely and promise to never cut it that close next time!”