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, the debut of a brand-new art droid… Toby Willsmer on the cover of 2000 AD Prog 2240 giving us his bullet-ridden look at Dredd in action…

Prog 2241 out now


Toby is an illustrator based down in New Zealand, but he was a child of Britain in the ’70s and 2000 AD runs in his comics blood. He was the winner of the January 2000 AD Art Stars contest, with a great looking Sam Slade Robo-Hunter, which led to this, his very first work here at 2000 AD… and a rather fine debut it is as well!

You can get hold of 2000 AD Prog 2239 from the 2000 AD web shop, as well as all good newsagents and comic shops, from 14 July.

TOBY WILLSMER: I’d shown Matt a piece I had done with explosions and a character shooting face on and he asked me if I would like to do a 2000 AD Dredd cover with a similar dynamic. As my first 2000 AD cover the answer was a yes from me!

Matt’s brief was “Dredd racing towards us, guns blazing, big explosions in the background, etc”. After a quick back ‘n’ forth regarding the background scene I started to come up with an image in my head of how it would look and scribbled some really quick ideas to make into roughs. I came up with a couple of roughs (above and below) for Matt to look at and he liked the dynamic of the second rough and gave me the go-ahead to work it up.

I went ahead and did the linework for approval, leaving the background lines as just guidelines and explained that I would define and detail the explosions as I painted them.

From here I added where I want the light source and shadows.

Next… add some base colour for the overall piece.

I start by adding thin colour to the foreground parts building up colour depth as I go along.

Once I’m ok with the initial colour stage I’ll start to add some basic background colours to make sure the foreground and background colours work together.

As the background was to be all explosions I blocked in large parts with rough colours knowing they would be mostly painted over in the next process as I start to add debris and movement into it.

Here’s the fun bit, blow stuff up and throw stuff in the air. Adding as much depth and movement to the explosions as possible.

At this stage I decided to add Dredd’s boot to his trailing leg.

I sent the tweak over for approval and it was left in for the final piece.

By now I’m happy with how it’s all coming together and I’ll add all the details and bells and whistles to the overall piece until it’s done.

Then send the finished piece off to Matt and await his feedback.

Now that is a damn good Dredd cover, a classic debut! Thanks to Toby for sending all his process along for us all to see.

If you want to see more from Toby, head to his website, his Artstation site, and catch him on Instagram.

Now, a little bit more of that great Willsmer artwork… first the Sam Slade, Robo-Hunter piece that won the 2000 AD Art Stars competition back in January

And now a couple grabbed from his Artstation site –