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 and the Judge Dredd Megazine!

2000 AD Prog 2184 is out on 3 June, featuring a cover from Steven Austin. He first worked for 2000 AD with Prog 1982, providing the art for a Tharg’s Time Twister – The Timeless Assassin, as written by Rory McConville. Since then, he’s done a couple of Tharg 3Rillers, The House Of Gilded Peak, written by Eddie Robson, and Keeper of Secrets, written by Robert Wilson, and a Black Museum Tale from David Baillie.

Here’s the tale of how this iconic Dredd cover for the Prog came about…

So this cover was a pitch to Tharg. Inspiration comes from the most random of places and the inspiration for this came from a link to a band sent to me by a friend, the band is named Burning Flag, I think I’d probably just been watching some news article on YouTube about the US and Donald Trump and somewhere in that mix the idea for this cover image came to fruition.

(Prelim sketch by Austin – doodles don’t get much looser)

I began as always with some very loose doodles, I had an idea that I wanted Dredd in front of a burning US flag but wasn’t sure of composition etc. so went about doodling some options, initially, I envisaged a flag behind Dredd, waving in an apocalyptic wind whilst burning, however, as I went along I started to draw the flag framing Dredd and this stuck.

Once I’d decided upon the design I was going with I went my usual route and drew an A5 rough which I then scanned into PS.

(A5 rough – Judge versus flag – flag always gonna lose)

I then blew this up to A3, printed it off and light boxed the rough onto A3 bristol board. Next, it was a case of tightening everything up and making any small changes I decide upon.

(Final pencils – Just once, just the once, you’d love to see him smile)

Once happy with the final pencils, I begin inking using sizes 2 and 3 series 7 sable brushes with some scribbling at the end with various pens, just to give it a little more edge.

(Final inks – Dredd’s idea of a Superbowl anthem was never going to go down well )

On completing the inks I became concerned that perhaps the colourist wouldn’t realise that the flag should be burning so decided to produce a coloured rough, I printed out the inks, painted over them very quickly in Acrylic and then rescanned it in placing the original inks over the top in Photoshop.

(Colour rough – seriously, if Trump gets annoyed at NFL players kneeling – he’d lose his mind over Dredd’s flag attitude. )

Next, I then decided to go a step further and play around with some digital colours before sending it off to Tharg.

(Colour Rough 2 – The flag never stood a chance. Dredd’s law wins every time)

I think the final colours are a very happy medium as to the image and mood I originally envisaged and Quinton Winters’ own excellent interpretation.

As always, thanks to Steven for sharing the making of the cover! Grab 2000 AD Prog 2184 at a newsagent or comic shop near you or from the 2000 AD web store from 3 June.