As ever, Jon has been very generous with his time, sending a fantastic set of images and fascinating insights into each stage of his Zarjaz cover. Of course, regular readers will know that Jon kindly sneaked MY name on the image (when I'm not writing this blog I'm Shift Manager at the Nerve Centre) and again, I'd like to express my eternal thanks. I don't think I slept on Friday night I was so excited!
So, over to Jon...
2000AD Thrill Power Cover 01 Sketch
"I did a series of very quick small, thumbnails first, just to get the rough composition right. When I was happy with one, I then enlarged it to the size of the cover, reduced the opacity by about 75% in Photoshop and then did a slightly tighter, more detailed sketch over the top. I then used this as my roughs for the cover...".
2000AD Thrill Power Cover 02 Inks
"I tend to ink in Photoshop now, so once I'm happy with the penciled or digital rough, I move everything into Photoshop, add a layer of 100% white over the top (which I switch on/off as needs be to hide my roughs) and start inking on top on a further layer. I tend to ink the outlines first, then go in and block out shadows afterwards. With this image, because I knew it was going to be a really detailed cover, I decided to separate the Inks into a foreground and a background layer. I did this to make it easier to colour later, and also, just in case I wanted to slightly tone down the blacks of the inks in the background at a later stage (which, in fact, I did.) I did this to better distinguish the foreground from the background and give the image a better sense of depth, rather than it becoming just a flat mess of wires."
2000AD Thrill Power Cover 03 Base Colours
"I'd already done a few quick colour swatches for the image and decided quite quickly that I wanted to keep the tech a light, almost off-white grey colour. I thought this would contrast better against the dark blue of Thargs suit and also, it would better reflect the strong colours I knew I was going to use for the large vats of 'Pure Power' and 'Thrill Concentrate'. When I first add colours, I simply colour flat, then add a very light directional gradient to give some slight form, which I then emphasise more at a later stage..."
2000AD Thrill Power Cover 04 Background Inks
"I added more colour to the foreground and some texturing to the metal also, then moved on to the inking of the background. As I mentioned before, I inked this on a separate layer, so that I could greyscale these inks, and drop them back from the foreground if I wished."
2000AD Thrill Power Cover 05 Background Colours
"I then coloured the background and also began laying in some additional dirt and steam effects, to add some depth to the background."
2000AD Thrill Power Cover 06 Background Complete
"I finally finished the inks and tech around Tharg's arms. Originally, I had thought about putting Tharg in an actual exo-suit, but decided upon the more 'puppeteer' style controls, as you could more clearly see his costume and the details of his hands and how they matched with the arms. I also thought it was a nice contrast between the really chunky feel of the robotic arms themselves and the fine, intricate workings of the controls.
2000AD Thrill Power Cover 07 Final Lighting and Amends
"This step is actually dozens and dozens of steps, all merged into one. I added the text and additonal texturing first, then began the process of lighting the scene. I started at the top, where the two main sources of lights would be coming from, and just slowly 'painted' the red and blue highlights over the mech. I always find it hard at this stage not to get too carried away. The first version had a huge explosion coming from the 'Thrill-Vat' that covered most of the bottom of the image, but it was just too over the top and covered a lot of the detail I had already done, so I reigned it in considerably to the smaller chemical reaction, which I think works a lot better. I also made several amends at this point, mainly the logo on Thargs costume which had to be changed and also some small lighting and texture changes. And finally, I added in the all important computer screens. : )"
Below is a close up of that 'all important' computer screen with my name proudly on it. A dream come true!
So thanks again to Jon for a typically entertaining Blog entry and certainly one of the best 2000AD covers ever! Remember to visit his wonderful web site here and use the search function at the top of this page to see more examples of his breathtaking covers!