Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Labyrinth Variant Cover Process

I was asked by Archaia to do a variant cover for the first issue in the new Labyrinth comic series: Coronation. Here's the info about the series:

"Simon Spurrier and Daniel Bayliss present a magical look into the world of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. Before Sarah braved the Labyrinth to save her brother, another young woman sought to save a young boy named Jareth from the clutches of the Goblins. Set in 18th-century Venice, Italy, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth is a striking look into the history of the Labyrinth itself, and what happens to the little boys who don’t get rescued. This is the untold history of the Goblin King."

For this blogpost I'll run through the process for creating the cover.

My editor Cameron suggested since I'm not one to tend to drawn pretty Human's that I draw Jareth in owl-form rather than glam David Bowie. We agreed that the 13 hour clock would also be something that would fit my aesthetic...and then I suggested a map of the Venice canals made to be a Labyrinth that the owl and clock stand on/above. Well, 2 outa 3 ain't bad. I messed around with 3D modeling programs, image searches for Venice from above and more before I gave up on the Canal-Labyrinth-Venice and opted for just a nice shot of Rialto Bridge (I found a painting from the 1900's as reference) The owl was drawn separately on copy paper. And for the clock I drew just one of the ornamental shapes for the numbers and then in Photoshop copied them out the the proper measurement for the 13 hours to be equidistant. Once this was all cobbled together digitally with some tone and a circular maze added in for good measure, I sent it off for approval from Archaia and Henson.

The approval came back and I started the process of inking. First I printed out the above layout onto copy paper (it's too big for 1 sheet, so I print it on 2 pieces and tape them together) and then tape that to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol. On my light pad I can see through the bristol to the printout and treat them like my pencils as I ink on the surface of the bristol. For pens I use Copic Multiliners SP (The SP are the refillable/nib-replaceable versions and not the disposables) with the 0.7 & 0.3 nibs.
To help the shapes stand out, I gave the owl and the clock a heavier outline. I also made sure the ink lines for the owl and the maze never touch the lines of Venice, partly that's to give them each some space, but it's also so the next step with coloring is a bit easier.

Like most of my covers, this piece has color holds (areas where I isolate the linework and paint them a color instead of black)...Unlike most of my covers, this one has every inkline held with a color instead of black. The Owl lines are one tone (that shifts lighter as it nears Venice), the clock's lines a second, the maze is a third tone (that also shifts in value and hue as it nears Venice), and fourth Venice is all in a cool blue-grey.

The shading and texture were all done with the Dodge and Burn tools in Photoshop using a textured brush.

Jim Henson's Labyrinth: Coronation #1 is slated to hit comic shops on February 28
My cover was the ComicsPro exclusive.

2018 Appearances:
Emerald City Comic Con: Mar. 1-4
WonderCon: Mar. 23-25
C2E2: April 6-8
Heroes Con: June 15-17
San Diego Comic Con: July 18-22
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 28-30
New York Comic Con: Oct. 4-7

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