JAMES - having a lead story about a fencing instructor definitely starts me off on the right foot for a good cover. like the Roller Girls or Fire Dancers before, the topic already suggests a dynamic image - so i just have to basically live up to the hype.
i offered these three sketch ideas, and i really had no preference. i think any of them would have worked pretty well this time - the top one was a ghostly image in the background with silhouetted fencers in the foreground, that woulda been a challenge and lots of fun. but in the end, i think the one they chose worked best as a 'cover'. i think the positioning of the characters and direction of the action compliments the logo nicely.
i illustrated it in three parts. first, i drew it up on a 11x12.5 sheet of bristol, and tightened it up with black markers (not pictured). i used that as reference, and lightboxed it onto a fresh sheet of bristol (top painting), using watercolors and acrylic for the background colors, and some white and yellow inks for the characters. the shoes and swords i colored in with a metallic silver sharpie. i knew the end result wouldn't have been printed with metallic ink, but i thought i'd be able to more easily manipulate it in photoshop to actually look like shiny metal.
then, in keeping with my experiments on vellum, i laid a sheet of translucent vellum ontop and inked the outlines (lower drawing). i was trying to achieve the same thing as the "Hanging on a String, Girl" poster with the softness of the lines coming from the vellum.
i scanned them in separately, and joined them together in Photoshop. i did my best to accentuate the texture of the painting, and really make those colors pop, while keeping the outlines soft and kinda brown-ish. i did the logo almost the same way as last month (using parts of the painting to 'color' in the logo), but took it a few steps farther. they loved the idea so much, we've designed the new business cards around that. the issue came in last week, and it printed PERFECTLY. everyone's psyched with it, and so am i. tom, i think this may be a better combination of my usual illustration style and my more recent paintings - i'm curious what you think.
don't know what next month's cover assignment it yet....hope it's a good one.