Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sunglasses After Dark cover

Gettin' funky with the warp mesh.
 Hey kids comics! Or at least the cover for one.

Vampires never die. The adaptation of "Sunglasses After Dark" that Nancy Collins (the original author) and I did about 15 years ago will finally be collected and reprinted by IDW in 2011. An exact date has not been set, but the cover is done!

The wheels are in motion, the page art has to be scanned, lettered and colored. I didn't do any of the original series covers, but I did the collection cover.

 Not only has it been 15 years since I drew the character, but for most comic book characters, I'm used to playing off existing art. This time I only had myself to riff on.
My first take on the cover was much more designy, book cover-ish, and minimalist. I wasn't happy with the lack of excitement or interest this cover had.
like some ol' make-up ad!

After that, I went back over my original drawings of Sonja Blue, seeing why I drew her the way I did. I figured I would make some changes, sort of update her a bit, and did a lot of sketches along that line. But the more I drew, the more I realized that over the course of the original mini series Sonja had become fully developed. I didn't need to rethink the character at all. At one point I was even going to change her sunglasses and drew several different pair, but  I wound up using the original (soldering) glasses she had.
"When will you make and end!?!"

"Sunglasses After Dark" has a strong pulp noir feel so I wanted that to come across in the cover.
Once I got on track I did several roughs with a sort of pulp noir paperback look using the exaggerated figure, and low angle, and classic femme fatale stance. As with a lot of my stuff lately it was a complete digital work flow. The pencils were done in Sketchbook Pro, inks in Painter and colors were completed in Photoshop. I added a basic texture background and did my local color over that. My goal was to have an image that was dark but not murky and hard to see. While at the same time had some eye-candy appeal. In the original series Nancy and I wanted Sonja to have Engineer's Boots, this time I made them high-heeled Engineer's boots.
only a few of the roughs done for the illustration!

When the art was finished IDW wanted my input on type treatment, which I was happy to give. I have always had a fondness for the Doc Savage logo type done by Len Leone, which is a classic paperback type treatment that is echoed in tons of covers. So I went with that. I had to restrain myself and keep the warping to a minimum. In the image here colors are roughly chosen, subject to change, but I'm mostly happy with the way it looks. However it still has to pass  few eyeballs before being final. Not sure when that will be, but stay tuned.