Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Prog 1988 - D'Israeli: Mars Attacks!

The making of D'Israeli's stunning Scarlet Traces cover for Prog 1988 can be seen here.

Thursday, 30 June 2016


As you will have seen from my last post, the blog has moved to the official 2000AD site. Very exciting indeed!

I will continue to populate this page with updates sign posting to posts on the new site and will post the odd special on here. A huge thank you to all the readers who have said lovely things to me over the years and to all the artists for their continued support.

It's the end of an era, but a new and exciting chapter for the covers blog awaits!

Check out the site to see the making of Tom Foster's iconic cover of Prog 1986...

Dredd's dirty protest!

Check out a Simon Davis Slaine Special here!

Bow Doodly!
Onwards and Upwards my friends!

Friday, 17 June 2016

Dave Taylor - Brex-shit!

A momentous day in terran history approaches, a day when the inhabitants of Britcit vote on whether to stay in the Eurozone or leave. To commemorate this crucial event, scriptdroid Ian Edginton and artdroid Dave Taylor, introduce us to the odious little xenophobe, Bilios Barrage in Megazine 373's bonus Dredd tale, 'People Like Us.'

To accompany the story, the Taylor droid provided this hilarious cover. I reached out to Dave to tell us more about the curious little Brexit berk. He pulled up a chair at his local hardworking pub, chugged on a great British pint like millions of hardworking Britons that that built this great county, and whipped out the hardworking character study shown below, and said "A wee photoshop fiddle. Getting a sense of the malicious idiocy and combined dullness and boorishness in this creatures face. Tharg really didn't pay me enough for doing this. I'm still not fully recovered..."

I hope that's drool or beer froth dribbling from it's rotten maw...

Next the sketch for the piece; "Below is a sketch of what had been sitting in my head while doing the strip. Tharg, in his supreme wisdom requested I draw all of Dredd's mug. Fair enough. He is rather handsome!"

Dredd loves the smell of Garnier Fructoff Shampoo

"A few pages from the ET design stage of the strip, which were also used on the cover, as anyone with some eyes can see. Some have said of me that I'm a fool for believing (knowing) ETs exist and are present in our skies, some have called me hero and champion (not really) for supporting the idea of at least being socially accepting of what shouldn't be called Aliens. I mean, come on...if you don't believe that we're not alone in the whole of what IS then I suggest you seek help." Yep, next people will be saying that Tharg isn't real...

 These immigrants are taking YOUR jobs, disgusting!
This immigrant is on benefits and lives in an eight bedroomed house with his 12 children by 13 different mothers - disgusting! 

"The finished pencil drawing, which was then introduced conceptually to my computer and then I draw on the screen with crayons." This is true, poor Dave's mam has to come and clean his monitor each night while he is in bed with his teddy, Mr Pookems.

Dredd had pulled head lice duty this shift...

"Here I'm getting an overall feel for the finished piece. Took me three minutes. I don't expect to get paid for that."

Hmmmm, Dredd noticed three little sixes...
"Something happens when I press the keys on my keyboard and I hold the magic pen over the "tablet" which I believe strongly is called "flatting". Apparently that's a full time career now." I hope those who are not arty or computer geeks are keeping up...


"I'm starting to build up the light in this one, finding where the play of light looks best and getting some depth into this damn thing."

Brexit hole

"Finishing the lighting here and tweaking. There's something I'm not happy with. Well, to be honest I could be here all night telling you what I'm not happy with, but I'll stay on subject as best I can. There's something I've lost in the creatures face (Tweaking is a real word)." However, this should NEVER be confused with twerking, Dave always gets the twerking out of his system before starting a job - Pete.
 After this weeks' antics, perhaps he should be called Bilious Barge?

"Bingo! I got the lighting and saturation right but still couldn't agree with that ugly fking face. I spent an hour or so "tweaking" and finally the monster was good. The monster was ready!" It's alive! Aliiiiive!!!!

 2000AD Covers Uncovered takes no responsibility for feelings of nausea or rage you may feel when reading this article.
Clearly, Dave is just showing off now, he says "Sometimes you just need a close up..."

A photo of the Euro MP's taken from the latest Brexit propaganda.
And finally the Taylor droid adds "anyone feeling a little Trump? Not entirely by accident did I add a little Trumpacity to the face of the Creature!" As if he couldn't get any worse!
Perhaps he's sucking on a Fisherman's Friend...
So there we have it folks, the making of a wonderful cover by an artdroid at the very top of his game! Huuuuge thanks to Dave for sending the images and hilarious text, and for his patience over a stressful week.
And with that, an announcement...
Tharg the Mighty has decreed that this fine blog belongs at the home of 2000AD, 2000AD Online. Yep, I'm proud to say that from now on, my ridiculous ramblings will appear on the official site each week. Sadly, they will still feature the same shit jokes and awful puns each week, but will live there, instead of here. It appears my blog posts are doing a little Prexit of their own, the bastards.
I'll still be posting regularly on this blog too, artist specials and themed posts etc. and will link to my 2000AD Online cover breakdown each week so don't be a stranger, y'hear?

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Simon Davis - "Oi Slaine! Yer Ma's a Bower!"

A here in all it's splendour, is Simon Davis' beautiful cover for Prog 1985. This gorgeous image shows us Slaine's fearless Mother Macha, who is a master archer and not someone to be crossed with!

Below we see Simon's gorgeous little watercolour sketch...

Mother's Rune
Followed by that sumptuous painted piece, absolutely glorious...
Bowny Mum.
And here's how the prog looks in the flesh...
She didn't think it too mummy!
Huuuuge thanks to Simon for sending the sketch, and to Molcher for sending the finished piece - top droids!
Watch this space for some exciting blog news coming imminently...

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Matt Ferguson - Easy the Ferg!

The cover of Prog 1984 is, quite rightly, an Orwellian inspired vision of the future, brought to us in striking style by debut cover artist Matt Ferguson. You may well recognise Matt's style, and indeed some elements of the cover, as he recently created the brilliant Block War print by Vice Press.

"Where we're going, you don't NEED roads!"

As well as being an artist of some repute (his prints are amazing and highly sought after,) Matt is a long time 2000AD fan and is delighted to be working for the Galaxy's Greatest. In fact, over on his Facebook page he says "If you told 12 year old me that I would get to do draw Judge Dredd, and for a cover no less, he would have flipped right out. So happy!" A print and a Prog cover in the same week? Not too shabby eh?

I asked Matt to take us through his process; he said: "After I submitted my design for BLOCK WAR, a poster for Vice Press, 2000AD came back and asked if I would be interested in doing a cover for an upcoming prog. Tharg mentioned it would be prog 1984 and suggested Orwell as a jumping off point."

"I instantly came up with the thought of doing something that would play on the classic "Big Brother is Watching You" propaganda posters. 2000ad thought it would be cool if I did that but also set the whole thing within a cityscape similar to my BLOCK WAR poster."

"I then thought it would be a good gag if Judge Dredd was pointing at a piece of propaganda with his own mug shot on, that mirrored his face exactly while looking straight back at us, the reader, as if to say "Watch you step citizen." I used some of the background elements from my previous poster as I wanted it to be outside the Halls Of Justice again (I just love the design for that building) and also to share a similar style, then quickly roughed up a mock and sent through for approval..."


"The only addition I had to make was add a perp that Judge Dredd has just shot, which I thought would be fun to do as a self portrait based on photo reference."

A cover AND a print in the same week? Exhausting!

"Now I just had to bring it altogether. I wanted to, as much as possible, ink this piece like it was a panel from a comic and used the styles of classic artists like Cliff Robinson as a jumping off point and then adding my own rougher inked style to the mix."

Below we see Matt's test piece for Dredd, followed by his glorious inked version of the cover, wow...

"When the big hand is on the twelve and the daystick in on the two, it's two o' clock." A page from the poorly selling 'Dredd Teaches the Time, Creep!' book for juves.

"Perp was... uncooperative."

"The final stage was colouring and shading. I ended up throwing out the all red approach as I really wanted the propaganda billboard to pop more and draw the eye..."

99 Code Red?

 "And I went with a simple two tone muted colour pallete apart from the flashes of red."

"Big Brother is Blasting You!"

Brilliant stuff! And here's how the Prog looks on your Progshelf...

"Free the Sector Seven!"
As mentioned at the beginning of the post, Matt is a Print Artist of some repute, making some beautifully designed pieces for companies such as Vice Press and Bottleneck Gallery in New York. Below are some of my favourite images, I suggest you zip to his blog to see more!
Firstly, here are Matt's 2000AD inspired Vice prints, starting with his brilliant Strontium Dog image...

 "No Surrender!"
 And this little mini print he did, and hand coloured, for Thought Bubble last year...
"Say my name!"

And of course, this weeks' brilliant Blockmania inspired print (still available and highly recommended creeps, go buy one quick!) 

 "Drokkin' Sat Nav! I knew I should have come off at junction 32..."
Below is piece for the Gadgets and Gizmos show at the Bottleneck Gallery in New York, brilliant!
"I said 'Hotshot!"' 

Matt's blog has another cool couple of Dredd movie inspired images including this very cool poster...

"Let's go to work..."
Which Matt also turned into a cool alternative DVD cover!

Maybe we can use this for the TV series?

And now just a couple of favourites of mine to showcase this exciting artist's very clever work...

"She's called Martha!?! I love you!!!"

"He's a BB unit with a selenium drive and a thermal hyperscan vindicator..."
Here are a couple more Star Wars inspired triptychs which I just adore... 

Scenes from a galaxy far, far away...

"I have a bad feeling about this!"

A bit of Mad Max...

Mad? He's bloody furious!
And an awesome Predator poster... 

"Where's Arnie?"
Finally, a brilliant 2001 inspired piece, glorious!

 "Durrrr, durrrr, durrrrrrrr, dur durrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!"
A huuuuge thanks to Matt for sending the Dredd images, I've had a great week looking at his various prints, they're brilliant. Be sure to check out http://www.cakesandcomics.com/ for more!

Monday, 30 May 2016

Mark Harrison - Armed Pitt!

 The Men (and Women) in Grey are back! Prog 1982 sees the return of Bulliet and his ETC crew as they fight back against the Godstar which is threatening to blow them to smithereens! Once again, series artist and all round clever clogs Mark Harrisson is on cover duties as he brings us a cinematic feast to our eyes!

As ever, Mark has been kind enough to give us a fascinating breakdown of his process, which is brilliant. Over to Mark...

"Tharg basically wanted a heroic "Gears  of War"  image, a "Those who are about to die" heroic shot. I thought also movie poster and both these approaches would inform the cover..."

Fenix in the Flames

"I roughed up a quick sketch of a tableau of our heroes, with projections of shattered buildings pointing to the Oval Godstar, giving an impression of being hemmed in, surrounded by flame and explosions, trapped. It's a moment just before the attack.  Alighting onto these building and closing in, I would put the "Angels' transforming into corporeal demonic scrotum beasties!" Wait... what!?!

"Yes, you read that correctly. All the alien bad guys have some sort of sexual imagery involved.  I may have some issues... ;) The strip goes full John Martin with a biblical Apocalypse."

Hmm, I think Mark may need to get his testicles checked out...


In Grey Area, we have seen the Homeworld being attacked by 'Angels' which pour out of the Godstar. Mark told me a little more about their design "The angels in their "light" form are based on Mandelbrot shapes which I thought looked pretty cool. I wanted something Doug Trumbull "Brainstorm"  like; morphing beings of light that were both angel and demon."

You're fracked!

Next, onto colour choices,  "The Gears of War image cited by Tharg made it easy to get a general feel for lighting and colours - plus I love GOW. An interesting fact - the makers of GOW contacted me a few years back saying they were huge fans of Glimmer Rats  (that had been one of the influences on the game) asking if I would be interested in doing a  comic strip for them! Unfortunately it would have been a conflict of interest so I had to decline. Liam Sharp I believe got the job and did an excellent job! I'm free now!!! ;)"

"Approaching the cover like a film poster was natural  for me as that approach has been part of my comic strip DNA  from day one. Getting a film like aesthetic.  It's probably why I've gravitated to concept art also. I started out  doing caricatures of TV and movie stars. (I still am in my Prometheus Parody!) "

"I cast  most of the major characters in a strip like a film (something I've done since Loose Cannons- my first strip). In the past I "cast" Susan Sarandon, Teri Hatcher, Dolph Lundgren, Rutger Hauer and Jean Reno in my strips. Many other artists do this. It can even influence character changes (Nick Fury to Sam Jackson!)"

"For Grey Area I've been using  Brad Pitt for Bulliet as a general guide. Just  to keep their likeness in mind. I usually do a sheet of heads that help; some expressions, plus it helps to keep me on track to any changes and reuse some shots. I have a terrible memory!"

"Here's a story, of some lovely ladies, who were blowing up some very ugly bugs!" 

"Something I discovered when researching a lot of comic artists for line art (which is a particular passion of mine right now) was many of these artists did the same thing, reused the same headshot,  just larger smaller or flipped. It can save time to just drop your own art back into the work and trace over it!" 

"Something artists also do is  pose for the characters and film/photograph themselves (yep - even pose for the female characters - lots of imagination involved there! ) Lots of hands on hips when I look back on it. Well it's heroic!" I would like to point the honourable gentleman to any of Neil Roberts' posts on this very blog for evidence of some top class photo reffing!

 I pose for most shots that are close/medium as I've found "acting out" the scene in a  strip helps come up with nice little character nuances. Especially gesturing with hands. Helps the characters look less static as if waiting for their lines. "
"The guns were trickier but I had (for the strip) created a template that I used to get a  foundation to work from. These templates make up the foundation of anything a bit complex. There's one for the Godstar in line form."

The patented Mark Harrison Super Soaker

 "I've also made custom brushes that can create repetitive alien shapes and a custom action that can render the red, black and white silhouettes out as line art.  Saves a lot of time and keeps the line weight consistent."

"The cover originally had Bulliet looking more like me but as I worked over my face. I thought the conceit of the art might as well be followed through and painted it to resemble a certain movie star. ;) Shameless pitching for a possible movie? I think we wouldn't say no film or TV show! :)"

Count me in, I think a Grey Area show would be brilliant! Below is Mark's mock up of the cover...

"It's behind you!!!" 
Followed by his glorious final image - glorious!
"Coming this summer... a movie like no other... Brad Pi-"
*Cough! Cough! Splutter! - Ouch! My poor throat!" 

And, of course, how the cover looks on your Progshelf - drokking marvellous!!!
Six soldiers (six and a half if you count Luwot) against a planet sized entity and a million angels. What could possibly go wrong?
Huuuuuuuge thanks to Mark for another thoroughly entertaining read into the making of a truly outstanding cover. However, I must urge him to get those testicles looked at ASAP!