Hawkman/Adam Strange #2 Cover

Let’s take a quick look at my process for illustrating the cover to issue #2 of my current mini-series project for DC Comics, “Hawkman/Adam Strange: Out of Time”.  I would love to surprise you and say I did something different here, but no, it’s the same old process just with new art.

I did three cover sketches for my editor to choose from on this cover.  I was a little torn on this one.  I liked both A and B and I would have been happy to do either.  B was chosen with a few modifications suggested by the editor and writer.

HawkAS#2cvrsketchA HawkAS#2cvrsketchB HawkAS#2cvrsketchC


Here in the pencils, you can see one of the modifications.  The Thangarian hawkment swarming from the planet added a nice balancing element to the composition.  The planet breaking apart was added after this pencil scan.   Both were excellent suggestions that made the cover stronger.


After I got the okay on the pencils I took the art to the ink stage.  I used almost exclusively brush on this.  Some of the hard lines were inked with a pen but that’s pretty much it.  The fade from the black to the white at the bottom was accomplished by using a couple of different pen sizes and just dabbing dots until I got the effect.  A bit tedious but I wasn’t about to mask off the art and spray it with black splatter.  In my book, that has disaster written all over it.


This is one of the occasions where I chose not to color the cover myself.  The biggest reason was I had a turn around time of only three days to get it designed, penciled, inked and colored.  I am not an efficient enough colorist to do a good job that fast.  So I passed it over to Brad Anderson who was more than up for the task.  To think he did this color job in 24 hours is remarkable to me.


I really like how this turned out and it just made my new favorite list!  See you soon.


8 thoughts on “Hawkman/Adam Strange #2 Cover

  1. Aaron, what are your thoughts on the modern trend toward “generic” pin-up covers versus the “old school” covers which usually depicted a scene from the book?



    • Although I am guilty of doing it myself, I much prefer a cover that reflects something of the content of the book. The problem is since the advent of the direct sales comic shops in the early 80’s the covers have to be done 3 months in advance and sometimes we (the artists) have no idea what the content of the book is. That is why you see so many pin-up generic covers. But like you, I am old school and would prefer to see the covers help sell the book by teasing the content.

  2. Great job on the cover.

    The fade from black to white on the bottom you said you just dabbed with a pen. How did you keep it organic? Whenever I choose not to use a spatter it seems my dots or whatever look too uniform. Any tips?

    Also, I enjoyed your Herculoids work in Future Quest #3.

    • First of all, thanks! I used three different sized pens and then dotted as quickly as possible so it would have more of a random feel. It is really important to overlap a lot of the dots rather than making sure there is space between all of them. That will look artificial. It was a rather long process but just kept hitting open spots until it got a more natural or random feel to it.

  3. That is a great cover! Love all three but B definitely seems like the best choice. Thse two heroes have been together for a few specials so I would imagine that it is a challenge to come up with new styles for them. The more I see, the more I get excited for the new series!

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