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, it’s the return of art droid Jake Lynch for Judge Dredd Megazine Issue 446 – out on 20 July.

This week though, something a little different, as the Lynch droid sent in his own timelapse process video and a few notes to go along with it… from which we’ve pulled a few screenshots to show you the essential bits of the process.

So, sit back, stick some music on, turn the fan up to ice blast, get yourself a nice cool drink, and try to relax and be amazed at how the magic gets done (and all while Mother Nature does her very best to turn you into a melting heap of human goo)

All ready? Then we’ll begin…

First up, as you’d expect, the Lynch droid gets his head together and puts together some loose cover ideas for the Meg cover, based on the idea Tharg had suggested…

JAKE LYNCH: Rough ideas first. The first is what Tharg/Matt requested and then a few variations to see if any others suit. Number 1 was selected.

Step 2 – getting Tharg’s blessing for image #1

This time it looks like the Betelgeusian Gods were smiling down on the Lynch-droid as Tharg was obviously in a good mood and chose a cover sketch rather than making the Lynch-droid spend a few days coming up with another hundred.

The next step is transferring the thumbnail to the cover template and sizing it up…

Step 3 – transfer the thumbnail

With the sketch in place, albeit on the wrong cover template (droid malfunction, droid malfunction… blame the heat!) it’s all about getting it publication-ready.

Now, it might look like it takes very little time on the video, but Jake tells us the whole story…

JAKE LYNCH: The vid was a Timelapse with portions of screenshots (used after the idea I was demonstrating, on my Patreon, was done). The cover took around 2.5 – 3 days maybe.  Can’t remember offhand, but that’s the usual time these days!

This is the sort of thing to make all of us non-artists amazed when we get to see the magic happening in front of us. With our usual Covers Uncovered pieces, we see the move through from sketch, pencils, inks, flats, colours, and of course we appreciate the work that’s gone into it. But seeing Jake painstakingly pull everything together, step by meticulous and brilliant step, it just really makes you in awe of what these talented artistic types do, whether it’s a cover or interiors.

So, from adding the template to getting to the final published cover, it’s a case of a whole series of steps, adding and adding to the image, tightening things up, pencils, inks, tones, colours… all of it in incredible detail.

First we get pencils and inks, although when working digitally there’s not really the same absolute distinction between pencils and inks as there is when artists are still…

After this, well I suppose it’s tones, backgrounds, tightening up, doing all the fiddley stuff that takes hours and hours and hours. Or, as Jake puts it…

JL: Tonal Work-up. Trying to work out how it will ‘pop’.

Step 5 – the tonal work to make it ‘pop’

Next we have all the colours added, stage after stage on adding colours, changing them, adjusting them, altering them, messing around with a perfectionist’s eye, as you can tell from how Jake describes it…

JL: Colouring over the tone as a starting point (always looks awful), keep working over the top of it until you call it done! (I always leave a bit of ‘play’ in my covers so Matt can move them about or re-scale if required.)

Step 5 – colours over the tones, and then colours, colours, colours…

And then, after many, many hours and much work… it’s done! 

And finally… here’s Jake Lynch to introduce his video guide to making the cover of Megazine 446…

Thank you so much to Jake for that!

For more behind-the-scenes videos and info from Jake, be sure to go and sign up to his Patreon and follow him on Twitter. For more from Jake here at 2000 AD.com, be sure to check out his interviews on The Red Queen’s Gambit (with Arthur Wyatt) and The Hard Way (with Arthur and Rob Williams).

You can find Megazine 446 wherever you pick up your monthly dose of thrill power, including the 2000 AD web shop from 20 July.