This is without a doubt the biggest opportunity of my career so far. Cover pencils to issue #1 of Zenescope's new on-going flagship title "Grimm Myths and Legends" . Formerly known as "Grimm Tales" but has been changed to the now working title to avoid confusion. The stories will be 4 or 5 issue mini series revealing the origins of the characters that Zenescope has come to make their own. The first story arc is of course Red Riding Hood.
This issue will feature 3 main covers and it was a real honor to have scored this one because the other two covers (cover A and B) were done by two artists who have had a steady influence on me for some time now. Those illustrators are none other than Eric "Ebas" Basaldua and J. Scott Campbell. I had the chance to see their covers far in advance, mainly to avoid doing anything similar their layouts, and I was told I had roughly 3 weeks to dwell and work on mine which was nice piece of mind that I wasn’t going to have to chop something out. A few days later I get a call from my editor saying, "Yeah… that cover? It’s due at the end of this week and you still have to get your layouts approved, get it penciled and then have it colored." ...awesome. haha
After a mild panic attack, not wanting to fall on my face, I took the concept we had talked about several weeks back and started fleshing it out, but nothing felt right. It was like I was trying to fit my foot into a shoe that wasn’t going to fit. I’m pretty sure I was just psyching myself out but I took a good look at the Ebas and Campbell’s covers and broke them down to the most basic form. They were pin-up covers. So to succeed I felt it best to avoid the pin-up look I’ve become known for and stretch my legs in a new direction. I started to think to myself, “what am I good at aside form drawing sexy figures?” …faces. I draw faces better than anything else in my arsenal. I felt this layout would be a hard pitch because Zenescope have never in their existence had a cover like this. They always have a dramatic female figure that is completely, or close to, fleshed out so I drew the most detailed f-ing layout ever, which is usually not a good technique for artists who rely heavily on a light box like myself, but I HAD to sell this idea. Time was short and I needed something that would separate myself from the crowd here, so I sketched this big face, split down the middle, with the wolf shredding through the background and around 1:00 a.m I emailed it off to my editor. Five minutes later my phone rings and it’s him. “so…. What happened to the layout we talked about? We were pretty clear on the details…” I explained my thoughts and why I did what I did and he replies with, and I swear I’ll never hear this again from him. haha “well I thought we had a pretty good idea but this is 1,000 time better.” I swear my sigh of relief must have been felt through the phone.
So in closing; do I feel this is me best cover yet? No, not at all but I did everything in my ability to stand as one alongside two power house artists on a mainstream #1 cover and that feels pretty satisfying. For that reason alone I’m very proud of this piece and is one of the few I will hold on to for some time. Honestly I am happier with the original layout sketch that I did, and I expected that before I even started the final pencils so it’s not disappointing.
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