Friday, 22 March 2013

IDW Covers: The Colonized #3

The Colonised #3 (IDW, June 2013)
Cover art by Dave Sim
I think this was the next cover that I did.  What Chris wanted was the train that Drew Moss had put in issue #1 which -- in issue #3 is full of aliens and running out of control and running over and into a bunch of zombies (I gotta tell you, I really can't wait to actually READ this story).  I couldn't find the page with the train on it, but I did have the original photo-reference file which had a trolley car.  Was that what Chris was referring to?  And then he got me the missing page from #1 and sure enough it was there.  And Drew had done it so that it looked like the trolley car photo reference but ALSO like a regular train.  Which was pretty funky.  The problem being that Drew is a much funkier artist than I am, so I'm trying to make it look Drew Moss Funky and it's coming out Dave Sim What The Hell is That Supposed To Be?

So, I decided to do the cover in stages -- let's just leave the trolley car/train aside and mull it over, why don't we? -- first roughing in the zombies in the foreground with an already established vanishing point and horizon line.  One of the things that made a difference with this cover was, by this time, I had seen the colouring for the cover of THE COLONIZED #1 and I had gone, "Oh, okay. There ARE computer colour effects that DO work.  You can 'fuzz out' the light on the tractor beam to enhance the effect."  So I was less concerned with establishing the texture of the light with pen lines.  Not 100% sure but reasoning with myself that I could do a really dark foreground and a lighter middle ground when I got there and the colourist would Get It right away. So, I inked the foreground very dark -- near silhouettes -- and even incorporating the lines of the vanishing point into the inking on the figure on the left.

I like the fact that zombies are stupid.  But I thought just getting mowed down by the train was pushing the limits of stupidity even for zombies and I thought they should be armed. But zombie-stupid armed. Like, they'll stop this train with a tire iron or a brick (and then knock the guy's eye out winding up with the brick: You GO, Zombie Lady!).

Doing the backgrounds on these covers has definitely given me a greater appreciation for what Gerhard did all those years.  I mean, you really have to visualize the entire interior of the train.  Where the floor goes, where the driver's seat is, how far back it needs to go to fit a human being in there, where the door would be, where the seats go, how high up they go, where the windows start.  And then most of it -- once you draw the aliens -- just isn't there.  Fifteen minutes tight-pencilling the seats on the left side of the car (your left) and all that shows is a couple of pen lines between two of the aliens.  And you KNOW no one is going to look at the finished cover and go, "Wow do those TRAIN SEATS ever look AUTHENTIC!"

The problem with strict adherence to horizon line and vanishing point is that it does tend to make motion -- train-out-of-control "The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3" extreme motion -- kind of sedate no matter what you do.  The rest of the cover was supposed to enhance the motion effect on the Tire Iron Zombie (soon to be a spin-off series from IDW!) and I'm not sure that it does even though I inked all of the middle ground grays with pen-lines following the lines going into the vanishing point.

I started wondering if there was a good way to "strobe" the light coming from inside the car or on the large headlight on the front -- duplicating it smaller and smaller back to the vanishing point.  Basically doing what Krigstein did with the subway train in "Master Race" but doing it with colouring.

That's something you'd have to talk to the colourist about.  How difficult would this be to do?  I'm not crazy about vanishing points myself and now I'm going to get the colourist doing algebra?  "Let me see. If the train is receding in size roughly 8% for every quarter inch of distance from the foreground of the train, then that would mean the headlight would be strobing backwards at an 8% reduction per quarter inch or 12% reduction for every 3/5ths of an inch. Assuming you want three strobes vanishing into each other, hmm."

Poor colourist.  So I was thinking of Poor Colourist when I drew the alien in the top section of the cover with the brick coming straight at him, reflected in the glass and surrounded by refracted light.


Ooops. Too late.  As you can see by the primary image.

Jeez. And he was such a GOOD colourist, too!

Sorry, Bud. Next?


M Kitchen said...

REALLY liking these covers for "The Colonised".

Jason Winter said...

As am I. And as an amateur cartoonist myself, I was nodding in agreement abour Mr Sims comments on drawing perspective.

Adam Ell said...

Is there a point where IDW just prints a one-shot of all Dave's variant covers in one issue? Cause I'd buy it.

A Moment Of Cerebus said...

I put that idea to Chris Ryall, IDW's Editor In Chief via Twitter. He replied: "That could be complicated to pull off since various licensors would have to be involved, but maybe someday somehow."