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!

Borag Thungg Earthlets and welcome to another great installment of 2000 AD Covers Uncovered, where Tharg’s finest minons art droids give you the inside track on making the glorious covers to the Galaxy’s Greatest. This week, it’s Judge Dredd art droid Dan Cornwell with the double Dredd delights of 2000 AD Prog 2277, out on 13 April!

Since his very first Judge Dredd, Dan’s artwork has been blowing is all away and his work on this latest, absolutely shocking Judge Dredd: The Citadel is no exception. It’s John Wagner writing a storyline that’s promised to change everything and it’s in Prog 2277 that you find out the reason why!

Now, over to Dan to tell us all about putting together this stunning meeting of Dredd and Dredd in The Citadel!

DAN CORNWELL: When Matt asked if I’d be interested in providing a cover for Prog 2277 I was more than happy to do so. I had some ideas running through my head and was ready to sketch them out when Matt suggested that it should probably be 

Dredd vs Dredd face-off. It clearly made sense, it’s THE moment from that issue, and possibly the series. And hell, who doesn’t like a face-off cover, especially TWO DREDDS!  

Way too many CHINS! Dan Cornwell’s roughs for the cover that got sent to Tharg

I penciled some rough ideas. The problem with a cover like this is you’re really quite restricted. It’s two people facing each other.

I played with the angle of the shot and it became apparent the angle of this piece wasn’t going to be too extreme, it just wouldn’t work. Having both Dredd badges showing was a must.

I sent Matt the cover prelims for him to choose. Once he chose the best option I then penciled the page using a 2h lead on A3 Bristol (again, I never scanned the pencils. I keep forgetting that step, too eager to get inking!)

Next I inked the image and decided to have no background as that can be done as I progress.  I scanned the image, adjustested the levels and cleaned it up where necessary in Photoshop.

Dan’s final inked version – print it out for a great of spot the difference!

Next I added the flat colours and at this point I thought I’d try colouring it in Procreate on the ipad. I don’t use this application much but I thought why not. It’s a much more user-friendly tool and there’s no harm in trying right?

Flat colours stage – chinny reckon you say?
Hey, another spot the difference – compare & contrast the flat colour stage with this flats plus tones stage!

The background became a bit of an issue at this point. In my mind I thought I would do a background of fire. I found an image of fire and popped into the background to see how it would look (This was just a reference picture, it wasn’t going to be the image I would have used, I would have painted that myself.)

Lads, lads, stop with the chin-off – the bloody world’s on fire!

But as I progressed it became apparent that it was taking the focus away from the main point of the cover. It’s Dredd vs Dredd, that should be the focus. 

A cleaner, less busy background was needed with a few textures here and there and the main area of brightness emanating from the centre point, right in between the two Dredds forcing your focus right there. There’s not much between the two of them and it may take the eagle-eyed fan to notice which Dredd is which. But it’s there if you read the episode.  

And here it is, the final version of the cover – Two Dredds facing off in the Citadel…
and you’re gonna be talking about the story inside for the longest time!

I finished the cover with a few textures and sent it to Matt to see if it was worthy. Thankfully it was. Phew.

There’ve been a few iconic ‘Dredd vs Dredd’ images over the years – Carlos’s exquisite image of Dredd vs Kraken from Necropolis for example, so I knew whatever I drew I would create a stir. Good or bad? That’s the choice of the reader. 

Well, we reckon Dan’s played an absolute blinder and given us one of the covers that will be up for cover of the year in a lot of readers’ minds – which is only right, seeing as The Citadel will be the most talked-about Dredd of the year!

Thanks so much to Dan for sending that fabulous art along – you can see it on the cover of 2000 AD Prog 2277, out wherever the Galaxy’s Greatest is sold, including the 2000 AD web shop, on  13 April. You NEED to see just what’s going on in The Citadel – why are there two different Dredds? What’s the story? And trust us on this, what happens next is going to blow your socks off!

And just to end… that Carlos Ezquerra double Dredd that Dan mentions… damn, what an image…