The superb cover is by Alan Nolan, if you recognise the style, he produced the brilliant Slaine artwork in the Zarjaz Pat Mills special. His wonderful site is here.
Over to Al as he kindly tells us more.
"Emerald Isle editor David McDonald gave me a good idea of what he wanted for this cover -- the bould Slough Feg in one corner, opening up his tattered cloak to reveal Irish-tinged 2000AD characters Judge Joyce, Sinister/Dexter and Maeve the Many Armed.
Now I was familiar with Joyce and Sin/Dex, and practically on exchanging-Christmas-card terms with the Weird Lord, but Maeve the Many Armed I was flummoxed by. Must have happened during one of my few sabbaticals from reading the galaxy's greatest comic.
So I googled and googled and eventually came up with a reference...
...which turned out to be from a 2007 issue of Strontium Dog fanzine Dogbreath, and drawn by my old pal (and very talented artist) Vicky Stonebridge. Thanks Vicky!
I started off by drawing a very rough thumbnail at about A5 size for composition (Emerald_Cover_1.jpg), leaving enough room up top for a logo that I didn't have yet. As Joyce was my second favourite character (after Feg) and probably the most recognisable, I stuck him at the front with a dirty great pint of the black stuff. Sin/Dex I have coolly strolling from under the Weird Lord's smelly cloak, while Maeve goes all valkyrie behind them."
Al continues "I scanned this in, changed the colour profile from RGB to CMYK in Photoshop and stripped out magenta, yellow and black colours, leaving only cyan which I lightened to about a 20% tint (Emerald_Cover_2.jpg). I then blew this up in size and printed the light blue sketch at A4 size."
"Next, I inked directly onto the A4 printout using (mostly) an Artline Drawing System 0.2mm felt tip, adding all the detail and shading as I went, drawing at about 100% finished size. I scanned the finished artwork in a very high resolution."
"In Photoshop I cleaned up a few of the black lines, and greyed out parts of Joyce's helmet. I also added a white moon shape out of a grey tone at the very back to add depth.
By this stage the logo (designed, I believe, by another old friend Mike Carroll) had come in, so I added it to the "dead" space at the top, adding shading and highlights to the logo and tilting it slightly, and putting a shadow behind it to make it float over the action. I also brought Feg's right horn/antler in front of the logo, to give the whole shebang a more 3D look."
"And Bob's your Monkhouse, that was it, flattened the layers in Photoshop and saved as a jpg which I sent on to David."
Mike Carroll's brilliant logoSincere thanks to Al for sending such an entertaining and informative commentary. If you want to buy Tales from the Emerald Isle (and you'd be mad not too!), then get in touch with Dave at Hibernia Comics.
Absolutely fantastic! Thank you so much for that Al, you're an absolute star! I simply couldn't end this entry without including Al's hilarious, but ever so cool, back cover! He's really channeling the spirit of McMahon there!