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!

You last saw D’Israeli‘s art on the cover for 2000 AD Prog 2204 with Stickleback blowing holes in the opposition – he told us all about the making of that particular cover here. And now D’Israeli‘s back with Prog 2208, for another stunning Stickleback scenario, this time featuring the ‘kaiju’ battle taking place above the streets of London… it’s out on 18 November and it looks like this…

As the new Stickleback series, New Jerusalem, continues, we’re discovering more about the Pope of crime and his previous life as Sherlock Holmes!

What will the future hold for Stickleback Holmes? Will there be anything left of his beloved London by the time this series is over? All these questions and more might be answered by the end of Ian Edginton and D’Israeli‘s Stickleback: New Jerusalem!

So, over to D’Israeli, aka Matt Brooker, to talk us through his latest stunning cover to go with the incredible art he’s dishing up for us, full of his innovative digital work.

As is usual, D’Israeli got the word from Tharg to kick things off…

Each cover begins with a brief from Tharg-in-residence Matt Smith. The theme this time was the big “kaiju” battle between Father and the Bey Golem in Stickleback: New Jerusalem Part 8. I prepared 2 roughs, one close up from street level, the second with the combatants on the horizon.

D’roughs of D’Israeli

Matt went for rough no. 2.

D’landscapes of D’Israeli – noticeably more giant monsters than Constable or Turner

The next step was to tidy up the pencils (above) and then add blocks of colour underneath the pencils (below). The colour blocks allow me to make easy selections and drop in textures, also to act as masks to stop me colouring “over the lines” when I add digital “painting.”

The next stage is to draw in blocks of colour to represent the different textures I’ll be adding to the page (I call these “shadow masks”). Each shadow mask is on its own layer, so I can use select it easily (in Clip Studio or Photoshop, hold down CMD/CTRL and click on the layer thumbnail in the Layers Palette to select the contents of a layer).

I fill each selection with a different texture, and on underlying layers I fill with different tones of grey to give the overall tone I want

A bit of painting with Clip Studio’s digital Watercolour Brushes smoothes off edges and gives a bit of volume to the forms . The last step is to add some white rimlight to make the figures “pop.”

I export the finished file as a greyscale TIFF at 600dpi, then upload it to the Rebellion server.

Again, like I said last time, it’s difficult to describe the technique I’m using in words but the videos that show me at work on the cover to Prog 1835 may give a better idea what I mean!

And again, thank you to D’Israeli for sharing all that he does and we’ve added links to those process videos so you can see just how much goes into D’Israeli’s work. And you can grab your copy 2000 AD Prog 2205 from 20 October at the web shop!