Monday, July 16, 2012

Hollows Cover 1

...I guess Chris Ryall showed off the Hollows cover at San Diego comic con this friday, so i thought I'd throw up a couple of versions of it here on the blog too. I was torn about what do draw on this cover, because i wanted it to look more organic like the book does.

(Btw: Here's a version of the same cover with a subtler background texture i added in photoshop.  the cover on the left is a more hand done, and little washed out because of the camera flash)

By 'organic' i mean not slick and perfectly polished... more rough and less technically showing off. I' think i've done enough of that crap in my career, eh? But at the same time, it IS a cover, so it needs to have a little bit of a 'wow' factor, right?

Both covers are hand done... the big difference is the back-ground color.  It's really just personal preference on whatever background one likes. Digital gets a bad wrap, but i do like the choice it provides mostly background options.

But composition wise, my main focus ignore melodrama and o do just a simple Three Figure Cover, with...

1  dude with wings
2  little girl
3 'burp': ( the pink chibi-esk critter )

..all just standing there.  Shows some scape of the wings, and that the storys about more than just big-ass Giant Tress with Cities in them.

Sometimes simpler is better. Hopefully.

Here's where i didn't do it in a big enough sheet is bristol, but i's already painted it so i had to glue in another sheet of bristol to make the top bigger. i wonder if it will show up in the printed comic? Probably.

The gears inside the wings were an interesting challenge, i didn't want to just ink them and hand color them, (which is the way i did in  most of the book.) i wanted to 'suggest' them in a rough painted style.

So i tried to do the 'under shadows' of the gears which are somewhat visible, then add some gear high lights which in white ink, so they'll bring out some shape of gears..

Once i added water, 80 perfect of all the gear detail just TOTALLY evaporated..  and most of the detail will get lost when i added the wash over the gears. but i tried to working back in and bring out some shadows and highlights...

..or that was the idea. Might not have totally pulled it off. Either way, but was cool trying to try something NEW anyways.

Here's those two version of the cover again, but i added a third 'scanned'  version (so you could see it without the camera flash)..

So the only question is, not which is most dramatic, but which works better for this relatively quiet three shot of them?


Now, just for fun...

 here's a few quick pics of a curiously manic looking distorted fellow who i did in ink and pastels..

not trying to pretty or detailed here, just wanted to capture some motion and gesture.

okay,  can't end this post with such a unsettling image...

how about a nice big haired asian lady instead? Better?

Oh hell, let's just stick with the cover then as a 'end' image.

- sam


Derek Oberg said...

Wow, great cover. I definately like the hand-painted background better, but I can see letting that go for the textured version where you're just gonna have logos up there anyway.

I absolutely love the "manic looking distorted fellow."

cody said...

Those turned out so good, all the shapes and colors and the washes makes it look really old. you got a tough choice all three versions are cool in there own way. By the way love the new chicken post can't go wrong when it starts with a lil girl saying "Im totally fucking lost".

juvinwo said...

Fantastic work as always Sam!

Aaron Desira said...

Textured one is better. The characters textered faces work with the background. Great cover

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Kieth,

Before I begin I would like to say that as I am writing this it is about 2am and although that may not be considered "late" I haven't slept for the past 3 days or so so my apologies if this post looses some of it's eloquence (if not correct spelling/grammer) along the way but please bare with me.

I am a big, big fan of your work and consider you one of my illustrative hero's, However it is only recently that I found this magnificent blog of yours.

Seeing your work/style in so many different mediums and in it's "step-by-step" format is fantastic and set a creative fire in me that to be hounest was dwindlling somewhat.

I left college with my degree in illustration last year and although I consider myself technically capable I have no style/voice of my own.
All I can do is emulate others like your self, punching out one pale imitation after another.

As I said before your work inspires me but I still fail to make that ultimate bridge/link to original creativity.
I have so much I want to "say" but I simply can't and I am only getting older (24 is old to me ok!)

I am sorry for posting this long winded, self pitying speech in a comments section on a public forum but I don't really care anymore.

I am thinking of jacking it all in, for good and I wanted to tell someone who I hold in high regard and will give me a straight, no nonsense reply.

That's all I guess.



Marcus Collar said...


IDW!!! is this the project for them?

cant wait this stuff looks SO MUCH fun the look on the man with wings face, and his hair really gives a unique contrast to his abs and very godlike circular belt it feels like as if Thor or superman was your old uncle who owns a gas station or is an accountant and happens to fly around and save lives..ok sorry ranting a bit

again, it breathes so much life into the internet to see these windows into the worlds of SK

also VERY cool to hear that someone hyped your work at the Sand Diego Con and you didn't even have to be there to sign crap for 8 hours with no break lol
"SIGN MY FACE!!!" lol

also I must say its intense to see the 3 subtle variations of the same cover it really gives us a clue to the frenzied creative mind and how intricate things can become a crossroad of styles (sort of describes a lot of your work).

AMAZING! as always

Anonymous said...

Amazing work as usual but why the 'either this or that' mentality when it comes to the hand painted vs. digital? As far as I know photoshop with it's array of fades and adjustments can pull off very subtle effects. Why not just add some of the hand painted texture back into the digital background?

Sam Kieth said...

Thanks gang, great feedback on all the versions of these covers..

Chris, thanks for your comment. i will give you some thoughts i had about your concerns about if to quit or not in my next blog post. Don't worry, i'm sure your not alone in this, so hopefully you won't mind my using your post to talk about it some more?

Besides, I can't post a reply this long in the comments section anyways.

- sam

Anonymous said...

No, I don't mind at all.

Thank you Mr Kieth.



Sam Kieth said...

Your welcome Chris!


Also... wanted to comment on another Anonymous post, about the digital debate. I agree, 'either one vs. the other' isn't always bad... for myself, it's less about the tools of digital, and more how they're used. As we know, tons of watercolor brushes and organic looking tools are used in these programs, hell you can make your OWN brushes now.

I think the reason i've been hard on some past projects like Arkham was... i wasn't savvy enough to integrate it with my hand done stuff. But, again that's no reason to dog the tools themselves.

That said, no matter how their used... be it hand done... or using digital to *look* hand drawn... does make it stand out from most slicker art as seen in most video games and comic covers. Maybe the word is 'non-slick', rather than 'digital'... whatever it's called, i is a look i prefer... but that's just me.

It's ironic actually because those early 90's image covers were some of the worst offenders with slick or plastic looking colors, weren't they? This is why some the painted maxx one's, just stuck out so much like a sore thumb... (for better or worse.)

I still love to use photoshop to re-use wet in wet watercolor backgrounds i've done by hand. This never feels like a 'cheat' to me, although it may to some. Again, personal pref..

- Sam

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