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Borag Thungg, Eartlets – the new Judge Dredd Megazine issue 438 is out now , with a thrill-powered collection of strips and a stunner of a Judge Dredd cover with the old man in action (complete with stub gun!) courtesy of art droid Dave Taylor. After giving us the retro-futurist art deco delights of Megatropolis earlier in the year, Taylor’s back in artistic action for Judge Dredd: Dez-Rez in this months’ Megazine, written by Ian Edginton.

Over to Dave Taylor now to give you his rundown on the creation of the cover…

DAVE TAYLOR: The Ian Edginton droid and I were working on a little Dredd story called Dez-Rez, a charming peek into the day-to-day life of the Galaxy’s favorite Judge, and it occurred to me that this wee tale had elements that might make for a dynamic cover.

I used the traditional method of meditation and before long I was in communication with mighty Tharg. He agreed with my daft idea and requested a few sketches. The concept had already formed in my head, so I did one sketch, which I then messed around with to give my Master the choice he so needed.

He chose the right one, naturally, and so I moved onto doing the actual piece.

Drawing Judge Dredd is an honour and a privilege. No, don’t be like that, I’m serious. I’ve been a fan since 1977, not always a devoted fan (I strayed in the ’90s somewhat), but this guy means a heck of a lot to me, and obviously to hundreds of billions across the galaxy. So it’s always a little nerve-wracking starting something like this. That said, I had a disturbingly large amount of fun, which hopefully comes across to the reader. Comics are fun, right?

This is a scan of the finished inks before I photoshop “clean” it up. I forgot to take a scan of it before I inked it, but rest assured that looked very much like this image, just not as inky.

I’ve mentioned the magic electric fairies (photoshop) before so I’ll not bang on this time about how in love with them I am, suffice to say they helped me “clean” this image so we can now only see the inked line.

Next up – “Flatting”. The art of finding all the big areas of an image and coloring them in such a way as to distinguish them from other big areas. You’ll see that I’m already creating depth by using dark in the foreground and lighter tone for the background. I like a lot of depth.

What’s the major light source in this image? Establish that and you’re off and running.

I like to start with the darkest tones and work the light on top of that layer. I think it’s faster to do that, less messy, easier to control.

Now the hand painting begins as I start to light the scene, from the major light source already established. I use a small drawing tablet and the pen that comes with it that plugs into my computer. Simple and basic but it does the job. Takes a while for your brain to figure out that you look at the screen not your hand while drawing!

Secondary light sources established. This is where we start to see the true colour of things. An overall colour is beginning to come through. Again, this is hand painting via said tablet and pen.

The fiddly bits. Put on some music, sit back and just get on with it. In no time, ages have passed and you’ve done the fiddly bits.

To finish off I add the atmosphere and some ridiculous details aaaaand we’re done. I say “aaaaand” to represent the time I spend looking at it wondering if I like it enough to send of the Great Tharg.

This part can take hours, just staring at it, waiting for it to say “yup, I’m finished, thanks!”.

Thank you so much, as always, to Dave Taylor for showing us the ins and outs and all the fiddly bits involved! Great to see the stub gun on a cover! 

Judge Dredd Megazine issue 438 hits the stands and the 2000 AD web shop on 17 November – don’t miss out!