1) Ideas are pitched by staff writers who work on the Avatar show. These are usually in the form of one paragraph summaries:
The Nick Mag editors try to select stories that will have the widest appeal to hardcore fans as well as casual readers.
2) The summary is fleshed out by the comic’s writer (in this case, Avatar writer Josh Hamilton) into a full script that includes all the dialogue as well as lots of suggestions for stage directions:
Assuming Avatar creators Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino are happy with the script, the Nick Mag editors go through it with a fine-tooth comb to make sure everything will translate well as a comic. Things to look out for include too much dialogue (which means lots of balloons covering up all the cool artwork) or two or more actions taking place in a single panel (which can be really hard if not impossible to draw).
3) The artist (in this case, Justin Ridge) starts adapting the final script into visual layouts keeping in mind room for the dialogue and text:
If you compare it to the script you’ll notice deviations in terms of the layout and composition to make things work better as a comic book page.
4) Once the layouts are given the thumbs-up by the Nick Mag editors, the artist goes ahead and starts penciling the comic pages:
Traditionally, comic artists will ink their pages with brushes and India ink, but Justin opts to scan his tight pencils and clean them up in Photoshop.
5) The coloring for this story was done by the artists at Sno Cone Studios, who worked from lots of show reference provided by Avatar art director Hye-Jung Kim (who also has colored a few Avatar comics herself).
6) The artists at Comicraft digitally letter the comic pages using one of their specially designed fonts. They choose the one that best complements the look and feel of the illustrated artwork. The placements of the balloons may be based on the initial layouts provided by the artist, but often things are moved and tweaked to help the readers follow the flow better.
7) Lather, rinse, and repeat! The pages are placed into a layout program like InDesign by a Nick Mag designer. Once the whole magazine is complete, it’s sent off to the printer!
BTW...This specific comic titled "Sokka the Avatar" appears in the new Nick Mag Presents: Avatar the Last Airbender magazine which will be on newsstands later this week! It's pretty awesome.