Saturday, July 4, 2009

Kolchak: Monsters Among Us Cover

Moonstone hired me to do a new book for their upcoming title Monsters Among Us.

Here's the promo blurb:
Kolchak the Night Stalker: Monsters Among us

Written by David Michelinie, Christopher Mills
Art by : Don Hudson, Tim Hamilton
Cover: Woodrow J. Hinton III
188pgs, 7” x 10”, $18.95
10 digit: 1-933076-59-3
13 digit: 978-1-933076-59-1

TV’s premiere paranormal investigator returns!

“Mills' purple prose narration evokes Darren McGavin's voice and gives the book the verisimilitude necessary to contrast the premise as well as serve as a catalyst for comedy.”

Two, two, TWO titanic and terrifying tales, collecting the Kolchak "Frankenstein Agenda" and "Night Stalker of the Living Dead" mini series! The farmlands don't always hold peace and quiet, as these two complementing Kolchak tales illustrate with an eerie clarity. In one town, Kolchak stumbles across a hulking mutation of a man-gone-wrong, and becomes as wanted by the U.S. Army as the creature they are stalking! And in yet another small town, there is a secret behind the silent, endless acres of corn... a secret that is turning townsfolk into decaying, walking dead! Kolchak has best use his... BRAAAAINS... if he's going to get out of this one!

One thing that I really appreciate with Moonstone is the long deadlines and friendly work relationship that is conducive to discussing the work. Joe and Dave have always been very easy to talk to and willing to listen to my ideas. The long deadlines make this a stress free give and take. One thing that can often cripple published illustrations is a heavy handed art director. If the art director did their job right, they hired the right person for the job, and allowing that person to create freely usually produces the best work possible. With that being said its also the illustrators job to remember that we are producing a product for a commercial market. It can be a delicate balance sometimes and thus far I have been very lucky in my career.

A few things that were interesting about this particular job was this is the first wraparound cover I have designed. Originally the image was just a single cover as show below.
When I was first contacted the vibe I was getting was that they wanted another split cover for doubled billing for two stories on the cover. I was very reluctant because one, I had just did a cover like this and I hate repeating myself and two, when creating elements in a composition giving three things (story1, story2, and Kochak) equal importance is usually a good way to produce crapolia. I went to comic shop to look at the cover and after doing several I sent in four thumbnail that I thought would solve the problem. The first three were basically what they were asking for and the third while trite was what I really wanted to do.

After reading the stories I found both have a very Americana down home country feel and I wanted to resonate with the audience immediately. American Gothic immediately popped into my head and the idea of the farmer and his wife being Zombie's. i knew the idea might be a little trite especially with what was going on over at Marvel but i still felt it was a solid concept to build on. Luckily Dave liked the idea and it was decided to do a spoof on Grant Wood's Grant Wood - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia American Gothic.

After I completed the image it was correctly decided that the monster in the second story was not showcased enough. The cover image was solid though and I didn't want to do anything to weaken the design so I suggested doing a rear cover in which I could continue the painting off frame and show the Frankenstein Agenda Monster in all his Martian glory. It would also let me add the framer back in since Kolchak the pimp stole his lady! I think the final result turned out well and hope the fans enjoy the cover.

I would also like to give a shout-out to Chet Zar enter
I have never meet him but after watching a very inspiring tutorial of his I had some fun throwing in some details to my zombies and monster. I'd also like to thank these blokes for the in-progress crits:

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