Here's my cover to this weeks 2000AD Prog 1757, "Flight of Angels!":
2000AD Prog 1757
"Flight of Angels!"
As always it kicks off with a brief from Tharg, who wanted Angel Zero on her glider, zooming at the reader - guns blazing. BLAM!
I knew John Burns was drawing the strip, so I started to think about the strips he did for Look-In but, as I didn't merely want to imitate Johns superlative style (one of the finest comic draughtsman right now) - I wanted to be sympathetic to the artwork and story - that led me to Arnaldo Putzu, cover artist for Look-in magazine.
Me and my sister used to get Look-in when we were children and, while I never knew his name at the time, I LOVED his covers.
Arnaldo Putzu at his best...
Using his bold use of colour as my starting point I ran up two thumbnails based on the brief:
Two similar but different treatments,
colour was the driving force on this piece.
Tharg liked the one on the right here, but he made sure I kept her eyes on the reader in the final piece - a small but VERY important point for many covers.
It's the eyes that can grab the viewer.
Now, the reference shot - here I am rolling about on the floor to get an idea of how you'd hold the guns if you were in that position. I look daft, I know - but you've got to break a few eggs to make an omelette. And I sure look like a stupid egg...
Posing can be fun, rolling around on
the wooden floor - just be
careful of splinters.
From there I hit Photoshop hard and painted up the final piece you see below.
The full artwork minus cover furniture.
Here's a detail of the piece so you can see it close-up - hopefully the eyes are fixing you with their gaze...
"Look into my eyes... "
And with that, Tharg was happy, I was happy, so we're all happy! Right?
Another fun cover for the Galaxies Greatest Comic, it really has to be one of the best gigs in the Universe!
Just a quick reminder to say I shall be attending Games Day 2011 with those lovely folk from The Black Library this coming Sunday the 25th September, 2011 at the Birmingham NEC LG Arena!
So, if you have any of you have copies of my Black Library covered books, Horus Heresy books or posters (there may also be numbered and signed limited edition prints available on the day), feel free to bring them along to get signed. I believe I'll also be taking part in a seminar about the Art of Black Library!
Oh, and there'll be a bunch of people who write words as well, so you can talk to them about sentences and paragraphs or something... ;)
There may even have a special sneak preview of upcoming artworks on my iphone for anyone who asks very, very nicely...
So, we've had the Pledge, The Turn and now, the Prestige moment... Those nice folk at Black Library have now revealed my artwork (in their newsletter) for the new Horus Heresy novella by the über-cool Aaron Dembski-Bowden, titled: Aurelian
(Above) Intense! The result of a lot of Hans Zimmer soundtracks and a well outlined brief...
Needless to say the messageboards have been getting a lot of heat, people seem to like it, which is always nice to know.
Either way, I'm proud of it. Aaron has a knack of pushing the boundaries of what to expect in a cover and this one didn't fail to push against that. Check out his 'blog for a far wittier take on the cover art.
Sheesh, that boy's a GREAT writer... Cheers Aaron - you wonderful bundle of talent!
Next up on my drawing board, assassins and aliens...
I just finished a nice big cover for my brothers and battle-sisters at Black Library and, by way of a teaser (kind of), I wanted to share the musical inspiration for the piece (the best bit comes in at 2:50 in):
Without giving too much away, this summed up perfectly the mood I wanted to achieve with the piece.
More often than not, I listen to soundtracks when working, mostly Hans Zimmer. Or have my iPhone on shuffle, so it'll keep me amused when it bounces from Lady Gaga to Dragonforce to Ennio Morricone ;)
So, anyone else use particular pieces of music to get them fired up?
Here's my cover to this weeks 2000AD Prog1745, 'First Blood':
(Above) 2000AD Prog 1745: The MkI Blackbloods in their menacing glory.
A neat little brief from Tharg, with the BlackBlood MkI's looming over and reaching out to grab the reader... What's not to inspire an artist!
I took a few reference photos - as always, to get an idea of poses and look for any of those subtle shapes that can sometimes lift an image. In this case it was the angle of the little finger when the hand opens like that. Yeah, that was my big discovery in this pic. Little fingers! GO ME!
(Above) The little finger, the way it's angled - LOOK!
Anyways, I drew up a thumbnail I *felt* delivered on the brief, luckily for me, Tharg the Mighty liked it:
(Above) I submitted just the one thumbnail this time, sometimes a risky approach, as I felt it most accurately portrayed what Tharg was looking for.
So I went ahead and painted up the final image, as you can see here:
(Above) The final image, painted in Photoshop.
Tharg was happy, I was happy, we're all happy! Am I right?
I still get a thrill doing covers for the Galaxies Greatest Comic, it really has to be one of the best gigs in the Universe!
2000AD Prog 1745 is in the shops on Wednesday - you'd be crazy to miss out ;)
Just a quick post to point you to a neat little interview with the lovely people over at the Scotch Corner blog, where I talk about how I started off my illustration career and my work in general - go read!
Here's a nice clean version of the new, NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING ANTHOLOGY "Age of Darkness" from BL Publishing, showing a slightly evil Horus grinding an Imperial Fist Marine into the dirt (a certain Christian Dunn's idea - so BLAME HIM!):
(Above) Horus is *starting* to go all evil, so he's not TOTALLY spiked up yet...
As is usual, I started off with draughting out thumbnails - just two thumbnail ideas this time, as I had a pretty set idea as to how I wanted this cover to look. Luckily, Black Library were happy with them and chose the first thumbnail to work from. Then it was simply a case of paint, Paint, PAINT!
(Above) The initial thumbnails, BL correctly stated I'd made his armour too purple - n00b mistake ;)
(Above) Horus Detail, armour heavily based on the classic Adrian Smith Horus vs Emperor art.
(Above) OOF! BOOT TO THE HEAD! See his panicked eye behind his eye-lens - that's me, that is ;)
Cool, so that's the skinny on the new Heresy cover - I'm off to finish putting some more spikes on this here certain xenos cover I'm currently working on...
Just a quick process post about an oil painting I recently finished. I wanted to do a contemporary landscape, so I chose Regent Street, London. The aim of doing an oil painting was to re-connect with the notion of being an artist - especially after the busy year that was 2010. I wanted to re-establish those traditional skills that are easy to move away from when you've been working digitally for so long.
After a few sketches and reference photo's were taken, I launched into the painting. Below you can see my process:
(Above) Regent Street painting in progress
As you can see I used a saturated umber as my ground, mainly because I wanted to get a real warmth to the painting, which would mainly be that rather flat Portland stone colour. Also, I painted it in elements, sky, left side, right - a kind of Alla Prima approach over several days.
The final painting (apologies for the poor quality, will get a better pic when the weather is better)
(Above) Regent Street, 2010 Oil on canvas 24"x30"
It's exciting for me, as I've been able to acknowledge a more traditional and considered approach that will, hopefully, inform my future work. I've already gessoed a load of other canvases and panels, so I'm looking forward to exploring the posibilities of oil painting, still life and landscapes further.
I've got a few other paintings almost finished which I'll post up as and when they're done - keep those eyes peeled!