Friday, 2 December 2011

Judge Dredd vs Zombies!

The Law comes to the iPad and iPhone in the Lawman of the Future's first ever iOS game: Judge Dredd vs. Zombies! 

Even though the 2000 AD Nerve Centre shares an office with the computer games side of Rebellion, I had no real knowledge (other than sneakily glancing at programmers screens whilst wandering around) of the the newly released Judge Dredd vs Zombies, up until about 3 weeks ago - and now I don't seem to have done much else!

I was approached at first to come up with an alternative icon for use on the App Store, as the version the games dudes had been using during production didn't really tell you much about the game. I think it was just a Judge's badge on a blue background or something. They wanted something very simple and very graphic that would suggest both the Dredd and zombie elements, and still be recognizable when reduced in size. The picture below is the first thing I came up with, based on the mask graphic that we use on the Judge Dredd Case Files books.

Image-wise I still think this is kinda cool, but I do agree with the feedback we received from Fuse Powered (who Rebellion were creating the game with) that it doesn't really give the impression of there being a hero in the game, or a versus element. To people not familiar with Dredd it could just be a zombie in an american football helmet or something.

It was suggested instead I do some kind of fight scene with Dredd fighting a horde of the undead. I wasn't so sure about this really - for a start Dredd facing off a horde of zombies is exactly what we were trying to avoid with the first graphic, it's not a graphic anymore its an illustration, plus the minimum size the icon would be displayed at is something like 50x50px, so it would run the risk of being completely unintelligible.

Anyway below are 3 rough pictures I did for this. The top one I spent more time over (too much really, I put loads of pointless detail into the zombie faces), before deciding that it really, really needed to be simplified. I scrapped it and quickly knocked out the other 2 pictures. I did all of these in Adobe Illustrator so it was pretty easy to rearrange the bits.

After seeing these everyone decided that although they kind of liked them as images in their own right, they were far too busy and wouldn't be very clear when reduced in size on the App Store... 

At this point I did what I should have done in the first place and did a very quick page of sketches, then got everyone involved to choose a favourite. Number 5 is the one we went with. Here's the final icon:

Next up is the advert I put together with some help from PR-bot Molch-R for the game that'll be in next weeks 2000 AD (Prog 1763). As I'd kind of set a style for the game at this point I ended up doing all the web banners and itunes store graphics too at the last minute! There was about 35 of them and it was right up to the wire. The game went live today I think, and I only finished them yesterday afternoon!

The only thing left for me now is to play the bloody game! It looks great, but I think I've played it for the grand total of about 15 seconds! If you want to have a go too, here's the link, It's only 69p too.
Would seem tight of me to ask for a complimentary copy?

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Double Dead Advertising

Press and web adverts for Double Dead, for 2000 AD and the Abaddon website respectively.

Monday, 31 October 2011

2000 AD/Rebellion Design Stuff

I don't ever really bother putting anything on here about the design work I do at Rebellion, so here's a few of the more interesting things I've done recently. Most of my time day-to-day is taken up with the design and production of 2000 AD, the Megazine, Graphic Novels and the Solaris and Abaddon books, but I always enjoy working on stuff that's a bit different.

First off is the 'manga-sized' Dredd graphic novels we're putting out. 'Manga-sized' actually means 'B' format, which is a pretty standard UK novel size (128x198mm). We did quite a few tests at different sizes to make sure that the speech bubbles where still readable and that the art looks as good as ever, and the B size seems just about right. Personally I would have prefered something slightly squarer so the art fitted larger on the page, but a custom page size would have cost much more to print and defeat the point of the smaller sized books (and would probably have only added 10mm on to the width of the art anyway) so it's a small quibble.
There's quite a few in the pipeline, but I can only show a couple of the covers at the moment. Really excited about them though. Like with the Case Files series it was good to present some classic stories in a new way. We wanted these to looks a bit more book-y than our usual GNs, so as not to immediately alienate people who wouldn't usually want to read a comic on the train or whatever. Hopefully we've done that.
The artwork on both of these editions is by Mick McMahon, definitely one of my favourite Dredd artists. It wasn't a conscious decision to use him on both covers, but his art just fit the space left by the design. I'm hoping to get a decent selection of the other Dredd artists on some of the later volumes.

This is a bit random: A recruitment campaign for Rebellion that's going in Develop Magazine and on their website. Usually jobs like this get banged out in 5 minutes flat as various deadlines are always looming, so it was nice to take a bit more time on one. Considering how much great concept/3D art we have floating round the office it's surprizingly hard to find pictures to use for this kind of thing, as very often any game in production is still top-secret, or licensed from a big company who'd take weeks to approve any artwork - hence these being entirely type-based.

Here are a couple of Judge Dredd 'in-world' logos I did a while ago that haven't been used for anything yet (although watch this space). Tons of stuff I do like this doesn't ever get to see the light of day, so here they are:

Below is a selection of some of the (many) character/story logos I've designed over the years for 2000 AD. The Zombo one is a personal favourite, but I'm happy with the Numbercruncher logo too.

Zombo created by Al Ewing & Henry Flint

Ichabod Azrael created by Rob Williams & Dom Reardon

Numbercruncher created (and owned) by Si Spurrer & PJ Holden

Indigo Prime created by John Smith & Chris Weston

(although this logo gets used on artwork by Edmund Bagwell)

Cursed Earth Koburn created by Gordon Rennie & Carlos Ezquerra

Samizdat Squad created by Arthur Wyatt & Paul Marshall

Lastly are some graphic novel cover designs. The Harlem Heroes book is based on the Team's kit from the story, and the ball and logo are lifted off the interior art. I've no idea who made the original Logo but I think it's great!
The Ichabod Azrael ones are concepts for a US edition to be released in 2012, but it's not yet confirmed and these may not get used. I quite like the block of text though. I did this in the same week as the Rebellion advert above. Can you tell?

I should probably point out that all this stuff is © 2011 Rebellion A/S, apart from Numbercruncher which is © 2011 Simon Spurrier & PJ Holden. It's also aces!

Friday, 21 October 2011

The Pack

Cover art I finished this week for a self-published ebook by Solaris Books' Ben Smith. It's a coming-of-age story about a young girl who... actually I don't want to spoil it. It's out in November anyway, and when he sends me a proper blurb and a link to Amazon I'll stick it up!
This was a really nice little job to do, and as Ben can testify, I liked it so much I took several months to get round to finishing it...

Friday, 9 September 2011

Pax Omega Cover Art

Finally finished the cover art for Al Ewing's 3rd book in the Pax Britannia series; PAX OMEGA.
Really pleased with this. Back cover below:

...and a rough idea of what the final design will look like. It needs some proper text, and the spine isn't finished yet but you get the idea!

Didn't really do and sketches or preparatory work for this one, as I had a fairly clear idea in my head of what I wanted it to look like, but I ran out of steam about half way through when it came to filling the bottom of the page. Below are my 3 main ideas of what to fill the space with. The 3rd 'thunderbolt' one is clearly the best, but I didn't particularly like duplication of the city skyline so Al suggested a chess theme. I thought this was a genius idea it and fitted in perfectly with the really graphic style of the rest of the cover.

This one's been pretty tough to be honest. This version of the cover has come together really quickly and easily over the last 2 days, and I'm very happy with how it turned out, but I only started it because my original picture just wasn't working. I've spent days and days over the last few months in a frustrated self-doubting nightmare, desperately trying to make it as good as I wanted it to be. I must have re-drawn the main Doc Thunder character at least 3 times, and completely restarted the colouring at one point. Of course, the longer I spent on it, the harder it was to throw away and start again, but in the end I just couldn't face working on it ever again and decided to start from scratch. Not an easy decision to make!

Below are my sketches for the original cover, and the final image as far as I got with it. None of the main characters are properly painted, but I'm still pleased with the colouring and lighting on the Masterbrain (big robot)'s brass head and copper belly. All the planets and lightning in the background are ok too. I think the main problem with this picture is focus really. i.e. there isn't one. There's just so much going on you don't know what to look at, and I've pretty much used every colour there is, so nothing stands out. I think the tipping point for me was looking at it and thinking 'Would I buy a book with this on the cover?'. When the answer was 'No.' it was pretty hard to carry on.

On the pencils you can see some of the changes I made. Doc Thunder is totally different, I completely removed El Sombra and the hazmat-suited scientists (they're pretty small at the bottom) and the Masterbrain's brass head used to resemble a much loved star of the silent screen (also Hitler).

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Final Cover Art and Design for Double Dead, Solaris Rising and Time's Arrow!

Finished quite a few covers recently, two of which I started probably a year ago but have only just got to send to press. First is Chuck Wendig's Double Dead for Abaddon Books, which I changed quite a lot from my original rough (check that out here). I redrew Coburn, the main character at the top and decided it needed some explanation for the Double in the title so added a load of zombies at the bottom. I always intended to do this but they're quite different to how I thought I'd do it. I was thinking grey shambling silhouettes at the bottom of the image to start with, but green mouldy faces are much more fun! 

The art without coverlines:

I also finished the cover for Solaris Rising, a new science-fiction anthology from Solaris edited by Ian Whates, which went to the printers on the same day as Double Dead by a weird coincidence. Unlike that though the cover art hasn't changed at all from my original go at (which is a rarity for me - I have trouble leaving things alone), but I finally got to add all the cover text on top which I'm pleased with - it fits quite nicely I think and makes the whole thing look a bit cooler.

Lastly a preview of a forthcoming eBook from Abaddon called Time's Arrow, written by Jonathan Green. This will be the first of three covers for this book, which will be released in installments over a few months ( I think). Covers for volumes 2 & 3 coming soon (ish)...

On the left are the pencils for the above image, and right a page from my sketchbook of some designs for Le Papillon, the French Terrorist who appears in the story.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Lunchtime sketching

A sketch I did on my lunchbreak today and just roughly coloured.
Trying to come up with a cool looking update to Dirk Danger's uniform - mainly as I have a new story to draw and (I hope) I'm quite a lot better now than when I came up with his original look. Don't want to change him too drastically, just needs some detail really. And a jet pack.
Gonna try some more tomorrow.