I just finished a Herculoid’s page and I need to jump on a cover but I am going to take the time to blog first. Let’s take a look at my final variant cover to one of my favorite projects in a long time, the Wonder Woman/Conan mini-series.
This was my final shot at drawing these two together so I wanted to really have a nice illustration to grace the cover. So I came up with several sketches that in some way represented the content of the issue. If not literally, at least figuratively.
“B” is my least favorite of the four but even if that one had been chosen, I would have put Wonder Woman and Conan into more dynamic poses and it would have worked much better. I kind of liked “C” because of the big shot of Wonder Woman but “D” is the best design and sure enough, it was picked.
Interestingly, after I drew this cover rough, a Barry Smith Conan cover came to my mind. I wondered if I had sub-consciously lifted the design. I immediately went and checked my Conan collection and found that it was a strange combination of two Smith covers. Not exactly the same but certainly in the same ball park.
Feeling I was safe from swiping, I went and penciled the cover adding a rather detailed background that wasn’t evident in the sketch. I originally thought of putting them over the gladiatorial arena from the series but an empty coliseum seemed less appealing than the city. So I went with the city.
Unfortunately, like a dummy (again), I forgot to scan the pencil drawing (again), so I can only show you the inked version.
I would like to point out the circular design of the main characters. It is something that I seem to use quite a bit either consciously or sub-consciously because it works. The characters are all facing each other and the central figure of the bird. It keeps your focus right where it should be, on the action! The girl being carried by the bird, it could be argued, should have her right arm pointing up rather than extending to the corner of the cover. I probably could counter by saying “the girl’s face and eyes are leading the viewer back up and that’s what you are looking at anyway”. But bending her arm up at the elbow probably would have still been a better choice. I also could have dropped Conan’s sword so it was pointing at the girl but it would have been too passive of gesture from him. Besides I think the bird’s beak carries you down to the girl anyway.
Enough of Art Theory 101.
I inked the bird and the characters with a brush and the city below with pens. I threw in some tiny town folk and tiny monsters in there to make it look inhabited but not so much that it drove me crazy. Drawing the buildings and structures drove me crazy enough. Rulers have never been my friend.
As usual, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with background. I colored the bird and the figures first (which is exactly backwards to what you would do if you were traditionally painting) but since I knew I could change the background color at will, I took advantage of technology.
I looked at some stills from the movie Prince of Persia and decided the city would really be mostly sandstone or sandstone looking so I went with sort of a yellow ochre….sort of.
I originally thought of using a mauve for the shadow areas on the buildings (yellow purple complimentary) but I found it too distracting. The focus should be on the characters fighting the giant bird, not the background. So I went with a slightly darker sand color. It gave me some depth without drawing attention to itself. I also had to be careful with the trees at the top. I used a very bland olive green (yellow/orange leaning) so they would separate themselves from the city without calling much attention to themselves.
Overall, you’ll notice that once again I have used essentially and orange blue complimentary. The bird is blue with the other elements (people, background) containing red/orange leanings. You see a little bit of the background color incorporated into the flesh tones of the characters as well. All in the name of color harmony. They need to be connected without blending in together.
Anyway, all in all, probably my favorite cover of them all. Thanks for stopping by!