Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Way To Babylon

This is the second cover I've done for the Different Kingdoms series by Paul Kearney, kind of time/space slip novels about people swapping between real and fantasy worlds. The layout is identical to the first book, which made it far easier to get on with as all the design work and style is set in stone, and I can just start making the art. However, I'm also still very pleased with how the cover for book one turned out, so it was slightly intimidating knowing I had to match the quality of that, which is a bit of a high point for me I think. Overall I reckon I did a good job - i don't think the main image is quite as atmospheric as before, but the colours and texturing are much better, and the two books sit together pretty well.

As before I started the cover in Indesign, laying out the text on a file that i'll eventually use to make the pdf files for print, so I can work around the words when I draw image in the centre and nothing overlaps awkwardly. I then copy/paste these basic shapes in Illustrator to draw the pictures, building up layers of increasingly dark detail to give it depth. This time round there's a strange symmetry between the 2 sides, which wasn't initially intentional - things like the wall in the foreground on both halves, and the broken cart vs the old wheelchair. Plus the general contrasting style of the 2 large buildings. I might carry this on to book 3 if possible, to add another level of detail into the art.

Next I paste these black and white vectors into photoshop and go to town with the textures to add some colour and life, also using the same indesign shapes from earlier as layer masks to show the edges of the circles and the split between the worlds, which gets lost a bit when doing the illustrator work. I also add in some leaves and rougher detail which is much easier in photoshop than illustrator. Next up: book 3!

The Different Kingdom books will be released sometime next year by Solaris. 

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

New print for sale!

Here's another bit of art from the half-formed untitled comic I've been fiddling with for ages. I'm pretty pleased with this so I've added it as a print for sale on my Etsy store. If you'd like to buy one, or to check out some other stuff I've done, please go and check it out!

Pye's Print Shop

Zombies and Ned Kelly

Couple more covers I did last month.
I normally hate the results of photo manipulation (when I do it anyway), but this is pretty cool I think. Zombies are always fun to do too anyway and you don't have to stick too closely to the original images, so it feels like actual drawing is going on. For this cover Mike Molcher from 2000 AD took some photos of himself and some mates, as he's a history freak and re-enactor with a wardrobe of period clothes and weapons at home (he really has) and the book is an omnibus of zombie fiction set at various points in history. Below are the photos I started with, chosen from about 200 options, and the full spread of the cover design. I based this loosely on the style/layout set by Luke, the artist/designer for the previous two Tomes of the Dead omnibi, although I wasn't as meticulous about this as I would be normally, as the stories have very little to do with each other beyond sharing a publisher (and the undead).

This next one is for an ebook, out soon from Abaddon, set in their 'Afterblight Chronicles' series. This pic is based entirely on a sentence David (the editor) used to explain the plot to me, which sounds awesome and was something like 'This ex-con steals Ned Kelly's armour from a museum and wears it to protect a town from maniacal bandits', which is the just the best elevator pitch ever. Home-made armour? Modern guns? Nutters? YES! Sounds like an 80s arnie movie.

There's a couple of versions here, one of which features a speech bubble that I would like to, but wont be, included on the final version, and the other is the cover as it'll appear. This is the first digital painting I've done in ages as I'd fallen out of love with them a bit, and there's lots of artists who can do them a lot better than me. While its not the coolest, cleverest image in the world, I hope it's kinda fun, cos I had a good time doing it (I had explosions and ricochet noises in my head the whole time)...