Issue #1 of the historic IDW/Dark Horse crossover comic Criminal Macabre: Final Night from Steve Niles arrives December 12th, and we have a look at the process artist Justin Erickson used to create the cover.
Some of Niles’ greatest characters come together in a final showdown in Criminal Macabre: Final Night – The 30 Days of Night Crossover, which features artwork by Christopher Mitten.
Here’s how Erickson, a Toronto-based illustrator and graphic designer, describes the Issue #1 cover’s creation:
- Since this is a crossover of two different Steve Niles properties (from two different publishers), it was very important that both get equal prominence on the cover. Given a rough plot line by Dark Horse, I produced five thumbnail concept sketches. As it’s the first in a series, this cover needed to introduce the two central characters, Cal MacDonald from Criminal Macabre and Eben Olemaun from 30 Days of Night.
- Once a concept was selected, I then developed the rough sketch into a slightly less rough drawing that I would use to begin the final illustration. I work digitally, and since the “pencil” stage is never seen, I only develop it as far as it needs to go to indicate composition and form.
- From the slightly less rough sketch, I mock up a few colour schemes. This one won out for me because Cal’s blue skin references him being a newly turned ghoul, and the red fire implies the incoming threat of Eben’s hoard descending on LA.
- Once a colour scheme is hammered out, I then begin the final illustration! My process varies depending on the piece. Sometimes I work up everything all at once, or I develop one specific area to near completion, then move on to another. In this case I first worked on Eben’s face primarily, then Cal’s after.
- Now it’s on to Cal’s face! Once that’s done, I bring it into Photoshop to play with colours and add texture.
- Once the illustration is finalized, I then apply the typography. And we’re done!
Our thanks to Justin for sharing his craft with us. For more info visit the official Justin Erickson website, and follow @jericksonartist on Twitter. You can also pre-order Criminal Macabre: Final Night – The 30 Days of Night Crossover Issue #1 from TFAW here.
Cal McDonald only wanted a beer, but what he got was a jaded federal agent and a story about vampires up in Barrow, Alaska. There’s a new vamp in LA, and he’s hellbent on escalating his attacks. When Mo’Lock’s sometimes ghoul-friend is murdered, Cal’s on the hunt … for Eben—the longtime protagonist/antagonist of 30 Days of Night.
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