Sunday 29 August 2010

Jon Davis-Hunt's Legendary Prog 1700 Cover!

Wow, the truly stunning cover to the landmark Prog 1700 by the fantastic Jon Davis-Hunt. As well as on the prog, Jon's brilliant art features in it too as we finally get to see his and Alec Worley's gripping new strip 'Age of the Wolf.'

As ever, Jon has been very generous with his time, sending a fantastic set of images and fascinating insights into each stage of his Zarjaz cover. Of course, regular readers will know that Jon kindly sneaked MY name on the image (when I'm not writing this blog I'm Shift Manager at the Nerve Centre) and again, I'd like to express my eternal thanks. I don't think I slept on Friday night I was so excited!

So, over to Jon...

2000AD Thrill Power Cover 01 Sketch
"I did a series of very quick small, thumbnails first, just to get the rough composition right. When I was happy with one, I then enlarged it to the size of the cover, reduced the opacity by about 75% in Photoshop and then did a slightly tighter, more detailed sketch over the top. I then used this as my roughs for the cover..."
2000AD Thrill Power Cover 02 Inks
"I tend to ink in Photoshop now, so once I'm happy with the penciled or digital rough, I move everything into Photoshop, add a layer of 100% white over the top (which I switch on/off as needs be to hide my roughs) and start inking on top on a further layer. I tend to ink the outlines first, then go in and block out shadows afterwards. With this image, because I knew it was going to be a really detailed cover, I decided to separate the Inks into a foreground and a background layer. I did this to make it easier to colour later, and also, just in case I wanted to slightly tone down the blacks of the inks in the background at a later stage (which, in fact, I did.) I did this to better distinguish the foreground from the background and give the image a better sense of depth, rather than it becoming just a flat mess of wires."

2000AD Thrill Power Cover 03 Base Colours
"I'd already done a few quick colour swatches for the image and decided quite quickly that I wanted to keep the tech a light, almost off-white grey colour. I thought this would contrast better against the dark blue of Thargs suit and also, it would better reflect the strong colours I knew I was going to use for the large vats of 'Pure Power' and 'Thrill Concentrate'. When I first add colours, I simply colour flat, then add a very light directional gradient to give some slight form, which I then emphasise more at a later stage..."

2000AD Thrill Power Cover 04 Background Inks
"I added more colour to the foreground and some texturing to the metal also, then moved on to the inking of the background. As I mentioned before, I inked this on a separate layer, so that I could greyscale these inks, and drop them back from the foreground if I wished."

2000AD Thrill Power Cover 05 Background Colours
"I then coloured the background and also began laying in some additional dirt and steam effects, to add some depth to the background."

2000AD Thrill Power Cover 06 Background Complete
"I finally finished the inks and tech around Tharg's arms. Originally, I had thought about putting Tharg in an actual exo-suit, but decided upon the more 'puppeteer' style controls, as you could more clearly see his costume and the details of his hands and how they matched with the arms. I also thought it was a nice contrast between the really chunky feel of the robotic arms themselves and the fine, intricate workings of the controls.

2000AD Thrill Power Cover 07 Final Lighting and Amends
"This step is actually dozens and dozens of steps, all merged into one. I added the text and additonal texturing first, then began the process of lighting the scene. I started at the top, where the two main sources of lights would be coming from, and just slowly 'painted' the red and blue highlights over the mech. I always find it hard at this stage not to get too carried away. The first version had a huge explosion coming from the 'Thrill-Vat' that covered most of the bottom of the image, but it was just too over the top and covered a lot of the detail I had already done, so I reigned it in considerably to the smaller chemical reaction, which I think works a lot better. I also made several amends at this point, mainly the logo on Thargs costume which had to be changed and also some small lighting and texture changes. And finally, I added in the all important computer screens. : )"

Below is a close up of that 'all important' computer screen with my name proudly on it. A dream come true!
So thanks again to Jon for a typically entertaining Blog entry and certainly one of the best 2000AD covers ever! Remember to visit his wonderful web site here and use the search function at the top of this page to see more examples of his breathtaking covers!

Friday 20 August 2010

Avast me hearties - Ten Years of Captain (Boo) Cook!

Ahoy there landlubbers, cast yer beady eyes on this amazing Red Seas cover by the amazing Boo Cook! It's exactly ten years since Boo began to work for the House of Tharg, his first credit being in Prog 1208, dated 30th August 2000. It was a Steve Moore penned Future Shock called "Home from the War." So to celebrate ten zarjaz years we have this absolutely jaw dropping cover. Boo was thrilled with the subject material, he says, "I've never done pirates before, so I got kinda excited about this one!"

He continues "Here's the roughs; they're basically the same, but Matt wanted a background, so I threw in Steve's pegasus wreck."

And, as Tharg obviously forgot to add 'shame circuits' to the Cook droid, he was also kind enough to send these brilliant reference photos! Note the grabbing hand toy, perhaps Captain Hook would have been better off with one of them... Hmmm, it always amazes me how lifelike Tharg's droids can be...
Next we have Boo's stunning inks, he says "Having worked for 2000AD for exactly 10 years now this cover marks a full circle for me, in as much as I inked it with a good ol' Smiths 49p biro, just like the old days.... ahhh...bliss!"

Biro!?! Absolutely amazing work...

And finally, the beautiful finished version. "I wanted to try and give it a really Turner-esque boiling seascape sort've sky," says the artist, "And it would be remiss of me not to add that I was really studying, and greatly influenced by, the work of Jose Ladronn when painting this one up in Photoshop."
Absolutely stunning work, I'm sure you'll agree. So here's to another ten years with Boo and the galaxy's greatest read!

You can see more of Boo's mind blowing covers here and follow his outstanding blog 'All Tomorrow's Particles' here. Thanks once again to Boo for being so generous with his time and talent!

Wednesday 11 August 2010


Above we have the fabulous cover for Dogbreath number 23 by rising star artist James Feist. Based on an idea by writer, Hi-Ex organiser and all round whore Richmond Clements. Obviously the image is based on the classic Trainspotting poster (shown below) and features some of our favourite mutant bounty hunters, as well as Mr Sun and Mr Moon, from the much loved Journey Into Hell story (as well as staring in some Dogbreath tales of their own.)
And here's the image with the full text, brilliant!
Next up, the cover of the forthcoming issue of Zarjaz by super artdroid, Leigh Gallagher. Leigh has written a typically entertaining post on his own blog about the piece (including a rather gratuitous shot of his arse!) so I won't steal his thunder here.

The cover is for the Flesh tale 'Flesh-Extinction' by Mark Howard and Chris Geary. Below are Leigh's roughs, pencils, inks and the final awe inspiring piece. Please check out Leigh's blog to find out more.

Zarjzaz and Dogbreath will be available soon, keep checking The Quaequam Blog for news!

Thanks as ever to Bolt for sending the images.

EDIT - The ever-wise Emperor from the 2000AD messageboard informed us in the comments section that James had done a version with the line up in the same order as the Trainspotting poster. Here it is, cheers Emp!:

Monday 2 August 2010

Carpet swatches, wires, batteries, lights and foil, it must be Bill Sienkiewicz! EDITED

EDIT - J H contacted me to say that he'd measured the piece and it actually measures three by two and a half feet and not four by four as preciously mentioned. Also, 2000AD messageboarder CraveNoir was kind enough to send more pictures of the piece from when it was on ebay four years ago! I'll pop them at the bottom of the post.

I saw this on and simply had to share it here, it's brilliant! Back in the 1980's, Titan Books reprinted classic Judge Dredd strips in their lush 'Chronicles of Judge Dredd' series of graphic novels. The covers for the books were produced by some very high profile artists including an impressive, very distinctive run by American artist Bill Sienkiewicz.

His covers were striking, often including abstract elements and plenty of collage or photography. This is perfectly demonstrated by the piece above. Proud new owner of the artwork, a guy known as J H, describes the piece. He says:

"This piece of artwork is HUGE! It's painted on a board that measures almost 4 feet by 4 feet in size. It has a host of mixed media affixed to the art (wires, carpet swatches, stickers, gold foil, the list goes on). At the time the cover to this magazine was shot, the battery pack on the back of the art board (which held two C size batteries) powered the eyes of the angel and they lit up for the cover photo). A wild masterpiece from the best in the business in the prime of his career!"

Got to agree, what a work of art!

J H continues "This is the published magazine itself which showcases the original Dredd painting you see in my gallery. Notice the eyes of the angel are glowing? That's because the painting was originally battery operated (battery pack was on the back of the board and attached with the wires you see going across the top). The red button you see in the white space beneath the angel was the 'trigger.' Bill explained that he initially forgot to sign the original masterpiece before the cover was shot, so he had to go back and sign/date a photo of the art which is what was used for the cover. Now you know....the rest....of the story."

Absolutely crackers! Sienkiewicz went on to create thirteen superb covers for the house of Tharg, including this moody image below for the City of the Damned epic. I believe this is now owned by Ashley Wood, the lucky sod!
Thanks to J H for allowing me to re-post his blurb from Comicartfans on here and to CraveNoir for the additional pics. You can see all of Bill's Dredd covers by following this link to Barney.

* Those additional images from Cravenoir:

Sunday 1 August 2010

Simon Davis - Dirty Volg Propaganda!

Oh no's! It seems that Simon Davis may have been captured by the evil Volg invaders and is being forced to produce stunning propaganda images for them! Using such a skilled, award winning artist like Davis will surely result in a massive increase in cowardly 'double yellows'!

This poster warns the Volgans that their forces may have been infiltrated by dangerous criminal terrorists such as the fugitive Bill Savage. Hopefully he, and his faithful shootah, will pay Davis' Volg captors a visit and rescue him before he produces any more of their disgusting misinformation!

Thanks to my resistance operative within the nerve centre for sending the scrotnig image!