Saturday, January 02, 2010

28 DAYS LATER COVER #9 [Process]

I mentioned before on this blog that i'd love a chance to work on some covers for 28 Days Later. Well, soon afterwards i was actually offered my first cover. I saw an image of it online this week, so i thought i'd post a 'process' post, showing the making of the cover as i haven't done one in a long time.

Right, well by the time i was offered my first cover, both Tim Bradstreet and Sean Phillips had done a fair few covers. How was i gonna follow them? Well, Tim Bradstreet had been doing some red-dominated movie-poster style covers, whereas Sean Phillips had been doing more hand-drawn, heavily designed ones, with a strong use of black, white, red and greywash (see below).

Sean Phillps' covers for 28 Days Later, issues 1-5.

I had been getting some favourable comments on the greywash work i'd done on the Eclectic Micks blog and well, i just preferred the hand-drawn look of Phillips' covers, so i thought i'd take the look he established for the covers and work within that remit. I personally love that colour scheme anyway, and i like playing with white-space, so Sean Phillips had already been doing the type of covers i would like to do. Illustrating covers in that style i think actually helps the covers become recognisable as 28 Days Later covers specifically, and so when you see one of these covers they instantly stand out from all the other covers on the stands as being 28 Days Later, which is really what you want in a cover, i think.

So, i submitted some loose cover ideas to my editor, Ian Brill, and he chose this one. I normally flesh out my layouts a lot more than this, but i didn't want to commit to any layout too much as i had no clue as to which idea my editor would pick. With this one i wanted a cool image of Selena in her mask (it just looks a little more sci-fi when she wears her mask) and a design-y montage of various infected. Normally i would have more fleshed-out images in the panels but like i said, this was just a very basic idea. The important thing was that the composition was all laid out for the pencils.

I then lightboxed the layout onto my marked-out page. I've mentioned before how i like to lightbox my layouts as to keep the composition as close to the original layout as possible, so it retains an element of the original spontaneous drawing. I had a little more work to do in the pencils this time, as i really hadn't figured out what the images in the panels were going to be, so i had a bit of fun trying to come up with various images of the raging Infected.

Inking. My favourite part. I tried to make the two different elements very distinct; by having the line drawing of Selena a little more refined, and adding shading in greywash (that was a bit of work) while having the Infected panels inked very messily. A lot of ink got into the white ares around Selena but i just took them out in photoshop. Though i do deliberately mess-up my pages in ink, i still spend a lot of time in photoshop deciding what works and taking out what doesn't work.

I then mapped out the areas of the Infected panels, filled them with grey in photoshop and changed them into halftone. The plan being to convert the halftone to colour down the line. I'd been playing around with this effect and i thought it might help differentiate my covers from Sean Phillips' covers somewhat.

I like halftone to look big, retro and kinda old-school. Problem is that when the dots are that big, areas of detail in the line art can get lost. You can see here that the Infected's pupils are obscured, and i really need details like that to be clear. It's okay though, because as i mentioned, this halftome was going to be colourized, it didn't matter that the dots were big. It was better in fact. When messing around with colouring halftone before i noticed if the dots were small then they totally got lost in the image. Black halftone though, works fine if smaller.

And here we have the final image. As you can see i added in a flat red (as suggested in the original layout) in the Infected panels and changed the halftone into a dark red. You might also notice that i went in ad cut out the tone in the background ares of the Infected panels and in the pupils of the infected too. I think it helps them 'pop' a lot more.

Well, there you have it. My first 28 Days Later Cover. More to come. Not gonna do a 'process' posts for anymore mind, as they take too long to do, so i hope ye enjoyed this one.


[P.S. Big thanks to Sean Murphy for showing me how to use colour halftone so i could try it out on this cover]


jamie said...

now that's what i call a start to the new year,
great insight there,dec...and proof positive of your growing maturity as an artist/designer.
well done,x.

Stephen Mooney said...

Love that greywash on Selena, mm-hmm.

Lisa said...

Very stylish! I like that she's standing between two of the red panels.

Declan Shalvey said...

Thanks guys. I think i prefer the next cover i did. I'll post it once i've seen it somewhere online next month.

Mike Exner III said...

Declan! Not sure if you remember me or not, man, but I just wanted to say that you have seriously grown as an artist and I am seriously impressed with your work. Hope all is well!

Abz said...

you have a lot of great styles and pieces here... cool stuff dude.. come visit me, let meknow what you think.

Comic art is real challenging I find...but you do it so well!

A Brief History said...

Mr Shalev, as always your design and finish is impeccable...great cover...also the tutorials are really helpful (even if they are a pain to do) but you know people appreciate them so keep em coming!