I had a bunch of different ideas for the cover and I looked at a lot of popular album covers for inspiration when a friend suggested I make it as iconic as the original Star Wars poster. I did him one better and proposed the original Boris Vallejo Vacation poster which, to be honest, is pretty much itself a rip off of the original Star Wars poster. Still, it was good to know we were on the same page.
So I came up with the idea of the band in an iconic (but still funny...I love how Ryan is standing on Henry and Henry doesn't look too pleased about it) pose where they are all on top of a bunch of the original books I planned to collected into the new trade. After the initial idea was set everything else went pretty quickly.
As usual, I sketched out the piece in non-repo blue pencil to get the band's body language and poses down. From there I went to tighter pencils and then on to inks. Usually, at this point, I'd scan the piece into the computer and paint the whole image in Photoshop. But, this time, I wanted to do something different. So I painted the background by hand using gray ink washes and white out applied by regular brush and toothbrush. It gave me a very cool foundation on which to paint the background and it nicely mixed my traditional illustration with the digital painting.
I painted the figures digitally in Photoshop and then took a whole day to digitally put all the little covers onto the pile of books the band was standing on. At the time it was really a pain in the ass but I think it turned out great.
Finally, I added the type and design to the book cover and called it a day.
Once the interior files were finally approved by the printer I ordered up a bunch of copies and, just like that, I had finally done a book so big that I had room on the spine to put my name.
Of course, it was a lot more work and took a lot more time and effort than simply, "just like that," but I enjoy the art and the process so much that none of it ever really seems like work. I think it's why the time flies by and, before I know it, I have enough pages and content to put together two books totaling over 320 pages, all on my own, with no client or paycheck to keep me moving forward.
It's just pure love for the story and the characters I've come up with and I can't wait to start tackling the next 320 pages this fall!
Enjoy these photos I took of the process as I went along and I'll see you all soon!