Friday, 3 December 2010

Design Led Covers

Some more cover art I've been working on for Solaris, this time a bit more graphic than illustrative. The Regicide is the only one I actually did any real drawing for, but I mucked about with it in Photoshop so much you can hardly tell any more! This cover will probably get tweaked a bit before print as I had to do it quickly for a catalogue, and I'm hoping they'll shell out for a metallic spot colour on the text and maze but we'll see about that...

The other covers are for some books Solaris have the e-publishing rights for by James Lovegrove. They needed doing pretty quickly which is why we chose the style they're in, but its nice to do the whole lot at once and see them all tie together. The top 3 are mine and the bottom 2 where done by Luke the other Solaris designer. All 5 took us about an hour and a half but I think they've turned out well.

Friday, 19 November 2010

The Thanksgiving Turkey

The Thanksgiving Turkey! I've literally no idea either... for a web banner advertising some giveaway stuff on the Facebook Evil Genius game I think, but I was just happy to draw a crazed looking bird with a bomb!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Recent Cover Work

I don't seem to have finished anything for ages, but last week the Solaris and Abaddon 2011 catalogue went to press which gave me the kick up the arse I needed to finish a load of covers I've had half finished weeks. Most of these still aren't done 100% finished but they're all getting there.

No Man's World: The Ironclad Prophecy

This is the second book in the No Man's World series by Pat Kelleher. I hadn't even started this til a few days ago so I had to steal a few bits old art to make it look complete. The red landscape at the bottom of the image is the same as book 1 which I'll have to update later but everything else is pretty much there. Despite the hastiness I'm really pleased with it at the moment!

Malory's Knights of Albion

These are covers for the first 2 books in the series. Like the Ironclad cover above I only had a day or two to put The Savage Knight together last week, and I'm very happy with it. This is the only cover here that's totally finished. Book 1, The Black Chalice was a bit more painful. It looks ok now, but I've been mucking around with it for weeks, and I think it's going to end up getting dropped and changed now anyway, mainly due to the strength of the book 2 art. This is fine by me as I spent so long shopping and changing the art I've no idea what to think of it anymore. Book 2 is miles better, so Book 1 needs to be just as good. I 've already started the replacement and its working much better already.

Solaris Rising

Last up is the cover for a new SF anthology from Solaris. Above is the rough mockup for the cover (I might change the text layout) and below that the whole image. I want to scene to wrap around the front onto the spine and back page in the end. This is another cover thats occasionally been a bit difficult. I've really enjoyed doing all the fancy glowing planets and space gas but what's held this cover up is a shuttle I wanted to the foreground. I must have designed and rejected 30 ships and still haven't done one I'm happy with. Now that the backgrounds pretty much done though I'm starting to think it might not even need it, or at least not as big as I first imagined.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Introducing: The Fly!

The first intro page for a new character in Blood and Plunder - La Mosca; a Mexican wrestler, dwarf, and professional Death Car Championship driver with several pneumatic limbs (none of which you can see in action on this page).

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Get Well Carlos!

A best wishes card for Carlos Ezquerra following the operation he had on his lung a few months ago, courtesy of all the droids at 2000 AD. I think there was a whole booklet put together and sent to him for this project, but I don't really know anything else about it I'm afraid... The mighty One commanded it drawn and that was that!

Friday, 6 August 2010

Century of the Soldier

A preview of the cover for the second volume in the Monarchies of God series; Century of the Soldier. As before the 3D work for the Helmet was done by Andrew Evans, and I think it's turned out even better than the first one. The colours work really well and the gun especially looks superb! Underneath is an advert myself and Andrew put together for the Monarchies series as a whole. One of the main benefits of taking the time to make all these objects actually 'exist' is the we can do stuff like this with them without having to re-draw anything. I think it looks cool and is first appearing in Judge Dredd Megazine 301.

In keeping with the first book, we've updated the symbol for the chapter breaks too, this time with the symbol for the Merduk religion and its prophet Ahrimuz, which has a much more Turkish influence. Here it is:

The Monarchies of God: Century of the Soldier is released in September 2010 from Solaris Books

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Ulysses Quicksilver update

After leaving this for the weekend and then coming back to it, I decided it wasn't working properly. I've redone the statue and added some extra lighting and rain. This is what happens when you have a long deadline and slightly too many ideas... much more pleased now though.

Friday, 30 July 2010

The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus vol 1

Above are my favourite cover mockups (from about 6) for The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus, collecting together the first 3 books in the Pax Britannia series by Jon Green. As you can see from the 'final' cover and spine below I ended up combining the 2, as they both seemed too good to waste! I think Jon Green initially suggested having Britannia on the cover, which I liked the idea of.

Below are some of my rejected roughs. You can see the evolution of the ideas to the final version. I tend to tie myself in knots doing slightly too many similar ideas, but these are the main different ones. In fact I'd totally forgotten about number 2... I really like it! Why didnt I do that one? Arg!

2000 AD Redesign

I've been tweaking the 2000 AD logo over the past few weeks, and have redesigned the Nerve Centre and Input page. All starting in Prog 1700 in a few weeks!

Here's the logo, with various colour tests. It's not changed too much, but I've fattened the letters and redone the badge. I always liked the badge from the early-90's so I've tried to echo that but keep it looking modern. My other objective was to get rid of the price/barcode boxes that normally sit to the right of the logo at the top of the cover. Without these it can sit completely centrally and uses the full width of the page. The issue number will now go under the badge, and the other details will all be in the barcode box, which will float around from week to week depending on where it fits best.

This is a teaser advert I designed for Prog 1699 and Megazine 301. The ace new Tharg is by Henry Flint. Lastly here's a rough template for the editorial pages: I was getting annoyed with the old ones being too fussy so I've stripped them right back. They've also been bought more in line with the current look of the Megazine which Luke Preece did a few months ago.

Prog 1700 is on sale 1st September 2010 - go and buy it!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Eat Lead!

The 'Mnargh?' panel makes me giggle every time I think about it.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Scotch Corner

I was very happy to get an email last week from Graeme Neil Reid at Scotch Corner, a collection of Scotish artists who run a blog together, asking if I'd like to contribute something to a guest post section they do every Sunday. This is the picture I submitted, a kind of cover image for Blood & Plunder. I was made up about this so thanks to them for asking me to contribute. There's some ace stuff on their site, check it out!


Zombo's creators Al Ewing & Henry Flint, zombied up for an After(life)word in the forthcoming 2000 AD graphic novel!

Friday, 18 June 2010

Blood and Plunder

finished page 3 last night - pretty chuffed with it.

more stuff here. Want to get another 3 pages done for Comic Con... and I work S L O W L Y...

Friday, 4 June 2010

The Monarchies of God

Hawkwood and the Kings
Above is the final cover art for the first volume of Paul Kearney's Monarchies of God series, published by Solaris. This collects the first 2 books in a 5 book series - Hawkwood's Voyage and The Heretic Kings. This is something that's been great to work on, as the books are really good and unlike the other covers I've done I actually got to read them before starting! The whole series has been published several times previously, and from the start Paul said he'd like the covers to be totally different from the other releases, which had a very classic fully painted fantasy look to them. Not that there's anything wrong with that of course, but he felt these should feel different. My initial roughs are shown below, based on items, weapons and equipment the characters in the book use (Corfe's/The Cathedraller's helmet, a cavalry sabre and a Ramusian religious looking mace. This was meant more to show a general idea of what I was after, rather than something to finish properly at a later date.

I think Paul thought these were OK but immediately pointed out that the helmet was far too medieval looking, and should be based on helmets from a much later period in British history. Not being an expert on this kind of thing I was pointed in the direction of a Civil War re-enactor who works in our office, Andrew Evans. Initially I was just hoping for some guidance and reference material, but Andrew also happens to be an excellent 3D artist and offered to not only help design, but also render the helmet, sabre and golden mace. He's done a superb job, and the final elements are shown below. They're far more realistic and detailed than I could have hoped to do on my own, and now that these items 'exist' I'm hoping we can use them from different angles and in proper scenes when it comes to designing advertising and promotional material for the series.

The next job was to incorporate his art into my cover design. I added them onto the background and lit the objects so they reflected the red from the behind. The whole thing looked good, but was far shorter than my initial rough so I added the twin golden rings around the elements. This helps with focus and the art now filled the space better without me having to totally redesign the text. The fur in the ring is a reference to the werewolves which play a large part of the story, and was made by scanning in a vile luminous pink acrylic cushion that my dog lies on...

I didn't look at the cover art again for a few weeks as it was done well in advance of the deadline, but when I did (2 days before print) I found the layered photoshop file I'd made first time round had been lost/deleted from my computer! Bit of a minor disaster, and I had to re-do the bloody thing from scratch! This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as my second go at it looked much better than the first. The rings have more colour reflected in them, the fur is more defined, and I added a nice old leathery texture to the red background which followed round onto the spine and back page. The final front and back covers are below.

The next job was to come up with a design for the interior pages, which is normally quite easy once the cover is done, as you can use the fonts and style of the cover when finished. Myself and David Moore came up with a symbol to represent the Ramusian religion from the book for use on chapter breaks and the like. I think this religion is based loosely on Catholic church so we tried to echo that without expressly using a crucifix, and with a twin border to match the cover rings.

Lastly I had to redraw the staple of any fantasy series: the maps. I actually quite like the original map drawings, with their hand written text and stuff, but as we'd spent a lot of effort with the rest of the book it seemed cheap not to update these too. Plus the only versions we had of them would have been page scanned from earlier releases and would have been a bit blurry and crap. I redrew the coastlines and features as closely as possible then relettered the areas and cities using the same fonts as the cover and internal pages, then added a good inch or so onto the top and bottom of each one so they fitted the new page dimensions better. As with the symbol above I added a twin lined border to echo the cover. Original maps are on the left, updated ones are on the right. The only thing left to do now is the entirety of volume 2!

The Monarchies of God Volume 1: Hawkwood and the Kings is released August 2010 from Solaris Books.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Coming soon to 2000 AD!

Enough said really.

Camper van - painting in progress

This is a VW camper van I'm painting for a mate at work. It's not finished yet, but I took a photo each time I stopped working on it. Here's the progress so far:

stage 1 - roughed out the layout in blue, then added some basic colours

stage 2 - waited for the first bit to dry then I went in and sorted out the sky, and upped the lighting on the van.

stage 3 - painted the detail onto the van, and added even more glow round the sun. The van is pretty much done now, but i want to add more detail into the grass and onto the island on the right. might make the sun even brighter too. The next stage will probably finish the picture!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Dirk Danger - Intergalactic Space Ace!

Just finished the first page of the latest episode of Dirk Danger. Have a look at it here!
Page 2 coming later this week if I can get time to finish it...