Every week, 2000 AD brings you the galaxy’s greatest artwork and 2000 AD Covers Uncovered takes you behind-the-scenes with the headline artists responsible for our top cover art – join bloggers Richard Bruton and Pete Wells as they uncover the greatest covers from 2000 AD!

This week, it’s time to take a trip to the weird side of the Justice Department, with Dan Cornwell on the cover of 2000 AD Prog 2241 as Department K defend the dimensions from the Valox…

PROG 2241 OUT NOW out now

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Since first appearing in 2000 AD Regened Prog 2196, you’ve been loving the reality preserving wonderful weirdos of Department K, whose simple (hah!) brief is to tackle interdimensional enemies that are looking to burst through into the reality of MC-1. Created by Rory McConville and PJ Holden, that first 2-parter (in Prog 2196 and Regened Prog 2233) introduced us to the wonders overseen by Judge Kirby and her team… Judge Estabon, the new intern Afua, and the ‘what the hell is he anyway?’ Judge Raspberry, as they kept MC-1 safe from all manner of cosmic beastie.

In 2000 AD Prog 2234, Dan Cornwell hopped on board the thrill ride, taking over art from PJ, and joined Rory in Department K‘s first long-form adventure, Cosmic Chaos, which has involved the Dept getting very up close and personal with a load of very large, very powerful, and very cosmic entities and those who try to kill them. Which is where Dan’s incredible cover to 2000 AD Prog 2241 comes in, as we get set to meet the Valox, whose only role in life is to go around destroying the increasingly sick multiverse. I mean, a goal in life is great, for sure, but maybe not that goal?

As for Mr Dan Cornwell, well he’s one of a number of great breakthrough 2000 AD artists in the last few years, ever since he got his first big break with the art on Rok of the Reds (and its follow up, Rok the God) with a certain couple of gentlemen you may well know, going by the names of John Wagner and Alan Grant. Since then, he’s become a much in demand art droid here at the Nerve Centre, with art on Judge Dredd and Max Normal. And now we get to see his fabulous work on the cover to 2000 AD Prog 2241, out right now…

So, without further ado… Dan Cornwell to tell us how he put that little beauty together…

DAN CORNWELL: Matt asked me if I could provide a new cover for the Department K story I’ve been doing for the prog. Obviously, I jumped at the chance as it’ll be only my second cover to date.

First off I had to provide some roughs for Tharg to view and chose which he felt would work best for a cover. I sent 4 simple design ideas. They were all of a similar design but each slightly different.

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The final consensus was the fourth image worked best with the team in the foreground with the two Valox and the egg behind. It worked well compositionally and left enough room for all the masthead logos, coverline etc.

Once I was given the green light I then pencilled the final image on larger than normal stock paper. I used Strathmore 400 series Bristol. This is slightly larger – and more expensive – Tharg’s worth it though – than the normal board I use which is A3 in size. I also normally use extra smooth heavy stock cartridge paper but I pushed the boat out for this one. (And it needed using up at some point)

Unfortunately, I forgot to scan the pencil stage as I got too keen and just went straight into inking.

Onto inking – tentacles, tentacles, tentacles, and more tentacles.

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The inks were then scanned, cleaned up, some splatter and texture added here and there and then sized up.

Next up I added colours. Starting with the flats. The colour scheme I had envisaged was quite a bold one with a bright red background, but I left the final decision for later on in the process.

Onto adding the flats for the cover – and no, they still haven’t noticed what’s behind them.

At this point, I didn’t have any idea as to what colours Len O’Grady was using on the Valox or the egg as he was in the process of colouring the pages himself. This is when the colour scheme changed.

Apocalypse Wow… adding in a hell of a lot of red!

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I decided that I would go for a limited palette. Remove the red background and go for a more uniform colour all over.
As the image progressed I gravitated towards a green theme. (I sound like Simon Bisley from that late 80’s Green Man documentary)

Meaner, moodier… giving it the green

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I added texture to the background then I decided to add a design element to the light coming from the egg. Once I was content with how it was going I then added all the extra stuff such as mist, dust and scratches and some colour holds to push the Valox back a bit making the team pop a little more. Then I stopped because I could have gone on and on and on… You have to know when to stop.

Until finally, there’s the finished cover!

And stop he did, but only before giving us a really great cover to match a really great series. Thanks so much to Dan Cornwell for sharing that with us. You can catch 2000 AD Prog 2241 everywhere the Galaxy’s Greatest comic is sold right now!

And for more on Department K, be sure to look up these interviews with the creative teams, first this one on Prog 2196 with Rory McConville and PJ Holden, and then a triple-header of Department K chat with McConville, Holden, and new boy Dan Cornwell.

And finally, to see Dan Cornwell putting together his very first 2000 AD cover, have a gander at this Covers Uncovered for Prog 2217!