In honor of the 8th anniversary of the PANEL blog, I’ll be formulating a sort of step-by-step of the process I used in creating my cover design for PANEL 17: PULP. First up – step one: the sketch phase!
In developing the book, PANEL as a group decided that there were too many aspects of the PULP genre to limit the cover image to only one of them. So several artists approached the same basic image from 5 different vantage points: Barbarian Action, Weird Western, Gothic Horror, Weird Science, and Crime Noir. Brent Bowman kicked off the process early with his killer Barbarian Action image. And with that, the ball was rolling; each artist would then re-interpret his painting in their own style, using the same elements (a damsel in distress, a looming threat, and a heroic rescuer), but spinning the art to suit a different genre.
I began my “Crime Noir” cover image by doing some research, finding examples of cover images from the past for inspiration. Some I liked for their title designs, and the way the characters interacted with it. Others I just liked the mood, or the design.
And, of course, the words “crime” and “pulp” can’t be mentioned together without calling to mind this 1994 classic—
so I took a healthy dose of inspiration from that original poster image as well. I sketched it out from memory before actually calling up an image of the poster, to avoid being locked into copying it directly. Here’s what my first pass looked like:
A little rough, but it’s all part of the process. Just getting the idea down on paper is a huge step for me; it’s when things get real. After tweaking some sizes and positions of the main elements, and adding some value, I settled on a design that I thought captured the overall theme:
So now that I had the composition blocked in, I could start the drawing phase. Check back on Monday to see how that goes…