Ex Sanguine, from the creative team of Tim Seeley and Josh Emmons, is being released by Dark Horse Comics on October 17th, and Seeley put together this guest blog for us describing his process of designing the cover for Issue #1.
Seeley tells us how he began: “So I’ve got to come up with a cover for Ex Sanguine Issue 1, my new horror book from the great folks at Dark Horse. The first thing I do is look across my studio to where Josh Emmons sits and ask him what he thinks, as co-writer, we should focus on for the theme of the cover. Josh says he thinks it should hint at the ‘romance’ of the two main characters or on the plight of lead vampire, Saul Adams, whose long life is causing him to lose his memories and identities.”
First came a number of concept sketches. Seeley explains, “It’s not super important that they are perfectly drawn, just that they get out the general idea behind an image in my head. I try to cover a variety of angles.”
The result was a lot more concepts than Tim usually does for a cover (see Sketches A-E below), “but,” he continues, “since this was the first issue of a new series, I wanted to give Josh and ‘Editor Supreme’ Scott Allie a variety of choices to really help us pin down the look and feel of the comic. Scott and his assistants, Daniel and Shantel, emailed me back, and they liked a few ideas. Three to be exact: the two images on Sketch A as well as the CHOMPER image on Sketch D.”
Now that some finalists have been selected, it’s time to get serious. “After some deliberation, it’s decided that Dark Horse really wants to push the ‘horror’ aspects of this new line of books, which includes other cool stuff like Colder by Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreya. Scott thinks the big chomper shot shows that we’re serious about making this a pretty visceral vampire story, not to be confused with the vegetarian vams of modern wussy popular fiction.”
“So I take the sketch and print it out on Strathmore board for inking. This method saves me some time since I don’t need to redraw my underlying drawing. And voila! I added a lot of black to accentuate Saul’s face. And, for giggles, I drew in Josh Emmons as the poor fella getting his neck chewed up on. He deserves it, I assure you.”
Now that the cover has been decided on, it’s time for some color. “Scott wants Dave Stewart to color the covers for the series, and I wholeheartedly endorse this idea. Dave is one of my favorite colorists in all of comics, and I’m pretty sure he could make anything out on paper look good. Scott and I had discussed approaching the color scheme of Ex Sanguine as inspired by the Dario Argento film Suspiria, which is bright and garish and lends to the creepy uneasiness of the movie. We give Dave instructions to make it bright and shocking…channeling Suspiria and old school horror comics from the 50s. Dave, being the hue genius that he is, nails it on the first try. We all say, “I LIKE IT VERY MUCH!” and boom! We have Ex Sanguine Issue 1!”
Tim concludes, “We decided to keep some of the concepts from my first round of ideas and ended up with the covers for Issues 2 and 3. Which is great because I’m gonna be up to my nuts drawing this comic!”
Our thanks to Tim for this informative behind-the-scenes look at his creative process. Check out Ex Sanguine‘s synopsis below, and click here to pre-order your copy of Issues 1, 2, and 3 from TFAW.
One is a natural-born killer—a remorseless hunter of men restlessly prowling the night for victims to quench an unnatural bloodlust. The other, Saul Adams, is a vampire. A bored vampire. His centuries of existence have left him world weary and detached, lost in a haze of endless memories for days or weeks on end. His latest bout of preoccupation is mercifully interrupted by federal agents.
They insinuate Saul’s complicity in the latest of a series of murders that have come to be known as “The Sanguine Killings.” Saul ignores these accusations, having eyes only for the bits of crime scenes they show him. The Sanguine Killer doesn’t just kill; he also paints primal pictographs in his victims’ blood. Where the feds see murderous compulsion and rage in the intricate patterns of Xs left on walls and sidewalks by the killer, Saul sees something different: Craft. Art.
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