Friday 28 September 2012

Ben Willsher - In Your Face!

"When some creep's holding a knife to your throat, who do you want to see riding up... Me - or your elected representative?"

Drokk! What an amazing, AMAZING cover! Several readers, myself included were fooled into thinking those lush colours came directly from the lush palette of Colin MacNeil or indeed those pencil tight lips are the work of master painter John Higgins. So, our Emphatically Yess trousers were collectively blown off on discovering that the artist was, in fact, cool as ice, digital artist Ben Willsher!

Here's Ben to tell us more "To start off, I wanted to do an image of Dredd that would feel very claustrophobic and threatening. Whether you were guilty or innocent, you wouldn’t want Dredd this close up to you." Yep, he certainly managed that!

"Now, for quite a while I have wanted to try something a bit different with one of my covers, and do a full painting of Dredd; and this was the ideal opportunity."

"OK, I’ll be honest straight away, it isn’t a real painting; it was painted digitally, but I treated it as if it were a real painting. I wanted the impression of real paint and brush strokes, just without the fuss of mixing paint, washing brushes, or getting paint on my Planet Replica Judge outfit (Okay, that last bit's a fib, I don’t own one, but now I’ve given them a free plug, maybe they’ll send me a Helmet, or Lawgiver for free - haha!)"

"First step was I roughed out a very loose pencil of Dredd’s face, and this would be my template, (or ‘cartoon’ for the fine artists out there)."

"Think about it!"

Ben continues "I simply then just painted over it, building it up as you would a real painting: Adding layer and layer of paint. In very simplistic terms you have darker layers at the bottom, and highlights on top. It’s a great way to work as you can correct your mistakes as you go along, and just tidy up any problems that were in the original rough, such as: making any lines straighter, that were drawn free hand. Obviously, some of this could have been done in the original rough, but I wanted a free hand and very loose guide so that I could do most of the work in the paint."

"To create the ‘paint’ effect I used custom brushes, textures and airbrushing techniques to achieve the finished look."

Ben totally had me fooled, in fact, I even wrote to him and accused him of having a, ahem... short and curly hair on the cross piece of Dredd's visor!

Ben continues "I’m absolutely thrilled that it was used as the cover that would coincide with the release of DREDD 3D in the US. Here’s to Karl, Olivia, Alex and everyone else involved. Cheers!" Yeah, if you're reading this in America, get offa your butt and go and see Dredd 3D! If you've already seen it, go again drokk it!

Finally, here's how the cover looked with the logo, banner and tagline, glorious!

Thanks to Ben who sent this cover, which is currently my cover of the year, from his sickbed! Please visit Ben's site here!

Next time, another contender for cover of the year by Clint Langley as Hammerstein becomes Swamp Thing!

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