What better way to celebrate 30 years of the Warped One than with this stunning, stunning painting by Dave Kendall? This is seriously one of my favourite Slaine paintings ever; an intense MacRoth holding his bloodied Brainbiter over a recently beheaded Skull Sword, cool.
There's a lovely story of how this beautiful image ended up in your prog. Dave says "It was a fan piece I did at the start of the year. Pat Mills saw it and and said he loved it, a real jaw to the floor moment! He suggested to Matt that it would make a nice bonus for the 30th anniversary and he agreed. It's a real honour to have this in the Prog."
Dave also recalls just why he did the piece, he said "One of the reasons I did this image was because of a Facebook friend; He'd shared a page of my French graphic novel with a comment suggesting that Tharg should give me a shot at Slaine. I smiled and didn't really think much of it. I'd love to do some Slaine work but didn't really have a way of realising it."
"Start of the years can be a bit slow work-wise, and I was also feeling a bit jaded. I wanted to get back to some traditional work. I remembered the kind Facebook comment and thought I'd have a shot at my favourite character, Slaine. That's how the image came about..."
However, the image itself came from somewhere else entirely. "A couple of years before I had a dream of a silhouetted Slaine, standing amongst standing stones, in a grey and damp atmosphere. I used that as a jumping on point for this image. Design wise I wanted dark damp leather, evoking Glenn's leather hero harness, and I wanted the celtic head to be a dominant design element throughout, on the axe and his ornamentation."
Below we have the pencils for the piece, however the image will have been laid out electronically. Dave says "All of my work now starts of digitally, even if it's destined for a traditional finish. The ability to use layers, and the flexibility they give, really allow you to refine the composition. Once I'm happy I print the blueline image on Bristol board and then pencil it traditionally."
What a pain in the neck
"That is then scanned and printed onto high quality, smooth watercolour paper. I paste it onto MDF and then seal it with an acrylic matte medium. This helps keep the acrylic paint finish bright without it soaking into the paper..."
Just wonderful, I really hope we get to see a lot more of Dave in the Prog. Readers with eagle eyes will have spotted that Dave has completed an excellent cover for the forthcoming Flesh series, let's hope there's many more follow. Of course, that won't be Dave's first cover for Tharg the Mighty, he provided this fiery image of Jenny from Caballistics, Inc back in 2007...
The Crazy World of Jennifer Simmonds
Those clever Zarjaz boys had Dave in mind for Slaine on the cover of their Pat Mills Special in 2009. Below is the breakdown for that fine wraparound (or should that be 'warparound?) cover, starting with his digital composition...
Kiss my axe!
Followed by the sublime pencils...
I adore these pencils!
And the final, Zarjaz painting!
Slaine didn't think it too many
Dave is keen to do more work on Slaine in the future, maybe even working on the strip. He said "Hopefully someway down the line I might have the opportunity to contribute to Slaine's saga. It would be a career topping project if it happened. However I'm really looking forward to what Simon Davis has in store. As a fan of Slaine I just love seeing what new artists bring to the character. Pat Mills is one of those writers that bring out the best in his artists. I would jump at the chance to work with him again, on any project!"
Gigantic thanks to Dave for sending the images for a seriously beautiful poster. Check out Dave's Deviantart gallery here and his website here!