I was recently asked to create an exclusive Variant Cover for Harley Quinn #1 for a comic shop in Virginia called Painted Visions and Comics. This is only the second time in my career that I have been asked to create a specific cover for a specific comic dealer (the other was my DK3 cover) so obviously I jumped at the chance. The book will be out the first of August 2016 and if you want to get one you will have to talk to the store. But right now, let’s take a closer look at how this cover came to be.
As always we begin with the cover sketches.
Since I have fallen in love with the Joker ever since I saw Brian Bolland’s rendition in the Killing Joke, I had to include him on the cover. “A” was the best concept but “C” perhaps the most desirable because of the inclusion of Catwoman and Poison Ivy. “A” was chosen with the retailer requesting the dolls be super villains and the pictures on display include Batman and Robin. Both were great calls and I incorporated that into the final.
Here is what the original pencil drawing looked like. You can clearly see the blue line underdrawing that is very common on my originals.
As you can see the requested changes were incorporated into the piece. However, I did add a French Bulldog down on the pillows. They are probably my favorite breed and they are so goofy looking I thought it would be a perfect match for Harley. I was quickly informed that Harley actually has a dachsund, so my frenchy was removed and replaced with a wiener dog. I also added the “angry” remarks written on the poster since Harley no longer is in love with the Joker. I almost added a drawn on moustache but I’m glad I didn’t since I was asked to remove the lettering from the final file.
When all of the changes were incorporated, I took it to inks. I used mostly brush on this with some micron for the straight line work. As you can see the lettering has been removed from the poster. It is still on the original inked version of the work but not here on this scan.
I then took the piece to the final stage; coloring. This I did in photoshop. This is how it first looked when I turned it in.
At this point I was asked to change the pink background and remove the lettering from the poster. I removed the lettering but was not agreeable to changing the pink background. But at first, I did it because I am a very easy to work with compliant artist.
I turned it in with a changed to blue background and the lettering removed. Truthfully I just couldn’t stand it. I thought the irreverent irony of Harley having a pink room was perfect. I also felt that the pink would draw attention to the cover as it sat on the rack. A long discussion ensued and finally we all agreed that the pink was the best option. I solicited my friend and fellow artist Terry Dodson’s opinion and he agreed with the Pink choice. I used this in my arguments with DC and it may well have helped swing the tide.
So here is the final version of the cover to be released this August.
All in all, I am very pleased. In fact, this may be one of my best covers all-time. For some reason I just think it works on just about every level. I guess I can retire now.