Right now, as I type this, I'm finishing a book project. This is the first one that I've written myself as a narrative, and it's been quite a challenge. I gots bad grammer, and punctuation; and speling; so's its pretty tuff to git the editing prosess done rite.
(Grammar Cops: save your emails, I'm just playing here... mostly.)
When I was a kid, my mom worked in a nursing home. A big benefit for me in this is that she often brought home things for me to read from there. Lots of it was older books and magazines, including old pulp fiction publications. They made a big impact on me in the way they told stories, the style of writing and the artwork... the amazing, high energy artwork. Everything about the pulps is what influenced "Rock and a Hard Place"... I just did mine with more comedy.
I filled the interior of my book with black and white illustrations that tried to capture that same kind of high energy, then I moved onto the cover in trying to capture that pulp cover feel.
I started with an adventurous concept that I penciled:
After pencils were done, I put a piece of bristol over top of them, threw it on the lightbox and set to inking. I did this one a little different than I usually do, by adding the grayscale to it with physical media. I used a couple Prismacolor brush markers to get the grays in there. The idea was to give it a painted feel, just like the pulp novel covers were.
After inks were done, I scanned them into Photoshop and went to work coloring it.
To get the weathered kind of texture to it, I passed on the Photoshop filters and textures and tried something new. I went outside. Shocking thing for an illustrator to do, I know, but I assure you it was completely necessary.
I went outside and took photos of clouds, then I brought them into Photoshop, messed with the levels, contrast, brightness and opacity until they blended fairly well into the mix and looked like age, wear, tear, and weathering. I think it was a cool technique(thanks Chris Oatley) that worked pretty well here.
To further the efforts to try and make it look like classic pulp, the color palette I used was a match for the 64 colors that old school printing was limited to.
I think the result came out pretty well. It's not perfect, it's not slick and it's not worthy of hanging in a gallery, but it has the elements I was looking for, the colors are great and above all, it's fun. If I can get through the rest of my edits with my last shred of sanity intact, I'm sure I'll feel the same way about the rest of the book.
The book will be finished and available to purchase soon. Looking forward to finishing it up and throwing it out into the world. Keep an eye out for the announcement here.
Thanks for checking in, and let me know what you think. Did I accomplish what I set out to do with the cover here?