When I was a smaller and less beautiful man I used to crave the opportunity to draw comic covers professionally, and even when I became a pro artist I didn’t seem to get the cover slot as often as I would have liked. Indeed, many of my larger projects from the main American publishers have had my work hiding behind cover art made (often in advance) by someone else.
Yet lately this seems to have changed. Now it is I who has the honour of decorating the front of these shiny pamphlets (or crisp stunning digital downloads) with my moody interpretations and oft-changing lines/colours/shapes whilst the interior artist feverishly rustles between the pages. It’s nice to have this, as the cover is a thing unto itself, a one-shot narrative that offers opportunities for storytelling bound by the same restrictions that painters have laboured under for centuries: how to get the message across in one image. It used to be daunting, yet now it’s inviting as there’s so many things one can do with an idea.
This art belongs to a comic called Bedlam. It’s written by Nick Spencer and drawn by Riley Rossmo, and is published via Image comics at the end of October. Unlike so many other covers I’ve drawn lately, this has a distinct lack of colour…what colour is there serves to sicken and sore the imagery, to convey a very wrongness that is happening in the story behind the cover. The lines are crueller, manic, and dirty, all part of conveying the message that the other 2 guys are elaborating on within.
And oddly that was fun :D Dark and dirty can be as much fun to draw as bright and cosmic, just as long as I know what I’m supposed to be communicating. And it’s an honour to do such things, even tho the purist in me believes that comics work best when all art is done by the same person/team, I can count many many examples where that strict line has been crossed and worked to the advantage of the work as a whole (does anyone remember the Sandman comics from the 90s?) so I’m not gonna beat myself up for being a hypocrite here.
The aim was to capture the visual and thematic essence of the story and give a nice hot juicy squirt of it onto the front to prepare readers for what happens within. Is it sticky enough?
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