On of the perks of designing cover art for comic book publishers like IDW is receiving complimentary copies of the comics you worked on.
With IDW I usually get two copies of the regular comic, and as in the case of Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers, where they print a limited run of variant covers based on my artwork, two copies of the variant covers.
The variant covers (pictured) for this series are my regular cover design minus the titles and other cover markings, printed on better paper with a matt varnish finish. The matt varnish feels really slick, although it reduces the blackness of the dark areas in the design, so tends to work better for designs that are lighter or more saturated. I design my covers with the titles in place as I believe that they are a fundamental part of the finished cover design, so sometimes this can leave a bit of an unbalanced space at the top when the titles are removed. But overall I think the variants are pretty neat to have. The rareness of them is an extra bonus!
I haven’t read LSotW all the way through yet (although I did read the script many months ago) but I’m looking forward to it. From all accounts this series has been really popular, particularly with the die-hard Transformers fans. I like this approach from IDW. They seem to be mixing accessible storylines that make it relatively easy for new readers to jump on board, with mini-series and single issue stories tailored for the hardcore fans.
I have some more IDW cover work coming up, but as with these things, nothing I can talk about just yet, sorry!
“We Will Bury You” issue 3 from IDW Publishing is in comic stores today! It’s got zombies, is set in 1920s New York, and features my cover design – Awesomeness! The series is written by Heroes actress Brea Grant and her brother Zane and drawn by Kyle Strahm. So far the reviews have been pretty positive.
This was my first non-Transformers cover for IDW, and it was slightly daunting to be following Ben Templesmith and Eisner winner Nate Powell on cover duties. The brief was to to do it as a mock 1920s movie poster and I had a lot of fun researching styles, layouts and techniques of the era.
Look for it in your local comic book store!
I get lots of requests for this, so finally: desktop wallpaper! Optimus Prime from my cover to IDW Publishing’s All Hail Megatron, #9.
Just a quick thank you to all of you who posted the kind comments on my welcoming post. I was hoping that I’d get maybe 10 people come and say hi, so it’s pleasing to see currently more than 70! I don’t have that many relatives so I guess there are people out there who are actually keen to win a signed Transformers cover art book!
To launch my new website and blog, I’ll be posting a few articles exploring my design process. Let me know if you’d like to see more of this kind of thing!
In the image above you can see the technique and creative process I used to construct one of my covers for IDW’s Transformers: All Hail Megatron.
I started with a basic sketch to put what was in my head on paper. [spoilers] This issue (AHM#9) featured the return of Autobot leader Optimus Prime, so I wanted something that would depict the return of the heroic leader. One of the overriding themes of All Hail Megatron was the concept of leadership; both different styles of leading and characters’ reactions to lack of, failure of, or objectionable leadership. To hint at this I used a propaganda style on many of the covers.
You can see this kind of defiant hero pose in these WWII propaganda posters:
Once I had the concept down on paper I began constructing the basic shapes of Optimus Prime in Adobe Illustrator. You can see that his stance and details evolved from the sketch.
Once I had the basic shapes and silhouette I pasted it into Photoshop and added the basic lighting and more detail. I reworked some of the shapes to better suit the composition of the page. One of the ideas I was keen to use was to have Prime blocking part of the title of the comic “All Hail Megatron” - an act of defiance against Megatron. (A second title was ultimately added in editing to make sure the comic’s title was clearly legible.)
The final step was to apply shading and textures which were sourced from scans of spray paint textures. I wanted the rough texture because it was closer to the style of many of the mid-century posters which were often airbrushed. You can get a sense of the texture in the detail shown below:
I made a late decision to turn his head to face away from the viewer because I felt he appeared stronger this way. Each artist has a different approach to drawing the characters. To illustrate my version of Optimus Prime I referenced Primes drawn by regular Transformers artists E.J Su and Guido Guidi but stylized the features and proportions to suit the style of the cover.
This cover for All Hail Megatron #9 was included in Comic Book Resources (CBR’s) 50 best covers of 2009