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 we welcome Mark Montague to the esteemed ranks of cover artists for the Galaxy’s Greatest.

2000 AD Prog 2215 features Mark’s very first cover and he’s absolutely hit the ground running with a stunning rendition of Slaine doing what Slaine does best, as he comes up against the Dragons of the Trojans. You can see more stunning Slaine artwork inside the latest Prog with Leonardo Manco’s gorgeous work on Pat Mills’ Slaine: Dragontamer.

Mark’s name first appeared in 2000 AD with his 2018 winning entry for the very first 2000 AD Art Stars competition, the incredible competition that regularly gives you the chance to see your art inside a future issue of 2000 AD!

His winning Art Stars entry, featuring a captured Dredd, appeared in the Prog as a Star Scan, the pin-up page that’s been graced by some of the finest artists of 2000 AD history, including Brian Bolland, Brett Ewins, Brendan McCarthy, and so many more!

And now he’s back with a debut cover that’s already setting a high bar for the best cover of the year – and we’re only into January! It’s an absolute classic Slaine and Mark was thrilled to get the gig!

Mark Montague: Tharg contacted me & asked if I’d like to do a cover for 2000 AD. I felt thrilled and honoured to be deemed worthy of contributing to the galaxy’s greatest comic.

Tharg wanted a picture of Slaine, which would depict him up close, dominating the cover, with a dragon approaching from the background. I did 3 prelims sketches for Tharg to chose from. I tried different poses for Slaine but the first one I drew, seemed to work the best, so I just concentrated on the dragon poses.

Once a prelim was approved, I did a colour rough, which I would use for my colour palette.

I’ve found that knowing the overall colour scheme a painting, speeds up my work flow by not having to play around & experiment with colour, until I get something that I like, which could mean that I might miss a deadline. 

The next thing was to draw the picture in tighter detail. I spent most of my time getting the drawing correct, because I don’t want to be making major corrections once I start painting. It’s easier to correct a drawing, than trying to colour match a repainted arm or leg. There will still be corrections towards the end but hopefully they will only be minor ones.

I started painting the background first, as this will inform how the colours of the environment will affect the colours on the characters. I masked out the characters & went very gestural with the paint brush.

Once I finished the painting, I left it for a day & then looked at it again with fresh eyes, to see if there were any changes that needed doing to it. There were a few corrections but they were very minor & then I sent the finished piece of work off to Tharg.

And that’s that! The making of a gorgeous looking Slaine cover all done.

Thank you to Mark for giving us that glimpse behind the scenes. And we’ve no doubt that it won’t be too long before we see more 2000 AD covers from this very talented artist.

It’s not the first time Mark’s delivered the goods with Slaine though, as his second Star Scan appeared in 2000 AD Prog 2181, showing us all the promise and talent that comes good with this first cover.

For more, go and read the interview Mark gave us back in 2018 after winning the inaugural 2000 AD Art-Stars competition with the piece below, a captured Judge Dredd in the clutches of Brother Morgar and the Brotherhood of Darkness from The Cursed Earth saga.