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2000 AD Covers Uncovered – Chris Wildgoose’s robo showdown with Cadet Dredd for Regened Prog 2280

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 the all-ages Regened Prog and the return of art droid Chris Wildgoose for 2000 AD Prog 2280 – all the thrill power you’d expect, just with that all-ages twist!

Inside the latest Regened you’ll find a great Cadet Dredd with Red Medicine by James Peaty and Luke Horsman, Hogwarts meets Grange Hill in Lowborn High by David Barnett and Anna Morokova, there’s AI gone oh so wrong in a Future Shock: Smart Home by Honor Vincent and VV Glass, we’re headed back to school with Class Omega-Default IV in The Unteachables by Karl Stock and Xulia Vincente, and the return of Marlon Shakespeare in Chopper: What Goes Up by David Barnett and Nick Roche.

But it’s all wrapped in that great Cadet Dredd cover by Chris Wildgoose… who’s about to tell us all about putting it together…

CHRIS WILDGOOSE: When Matt Smith got in touch to ask if I was interested in doing a Regened cover, he said I could have free reign. They were yet to lock down the main Cadet Dredd story but suggested he could have a showdown with an Alien or a Robot (while going light on the use of guns as this was aimed at younger readers).

Growing up with Dredd, I always felt his best tool—beside his helmet and his Law Giver—was the Law Master! So I was excited to have a go at that. I also grew up reading the ABC Warriors stories and I’m a genuine fan of the first Dredd film, so I picked the robot showdown with a slight Hammerstein look to it. 

Before I started designing, I read over Matt Smith and Neil Googe’s previous Cadet Dredd story, Coming To America [the exclusive Cadet Dredd in Regened Volume 1] to get a feel for how it looked. Neil’s Law Master designs are just awesome, so I wanted to use some of the flavour he’d given the bike, with a bit of my own spin. I know readers can be very keen on Dredd’s continuity, but with this being the Regened issue, I felt I had space to play with the design a little while keeping it close to an existing design. 

And so, I went in with these influences from the get-go. 

I sent over these three designs. The first two would require a big bunch of time to work on it. Loads of detail and fun action. Whereas Option C was a design that could be completed quickly, in case time was short. Unable to let Dredd wield a gun, I had fun planning out what he could do to the robot that would still be quite violent!  

Option A was inspired by Rob Williams and Dylan Teague’s short Dredd story, Meat,[Judge Dredd Megazine 298] which has a gnarly opening on a Mega-City One highway. My actual personal pick would have been option B, as I loved the colours and was in the mood for a dark, neon, muggy street-level piece.  

To be fair, for me, these are on the more finished scale of ‘sketches’ So they are on the tighter side and often, when I know I’m colouring for myself I’ll put a fair bit of time into figuring out the colours in this stage too. It tends to save me a lot of brain ache later on down the line. 

Matt chose option A as the final cover, so next I got stuck in with the pencils… 

I kept the pencils pretty bare bones, as I was inking it myself and doing it all digitally. With my layouts being pretty tight already, most of the hard work came in the inking stage. Here I was mostly making sure Dredd and the bike were drawn correctly.  

Often I’ll render my covers with some shadow layers. I knew I wanted the robot to have a bunch of grooves and dents, so I worked in some damage at this stage (and on that hover bus getting knocked out of the way).  

And here’s the final piece! I kept very close to the colours I’d worked out in the planning stage, with just some tweaks to add motion blur to the road debris.

The final touch was to add a couple of little Easter eggs!

Keeping with the tradition of naming a block after a fellow 2000 AD art droid, I named a block ‘Teague’ after artist Dylan Teague, who has been one of my biggest influences while working in comics. There’s also a ‘Fnord’ block, which is for my eldest brother. (Don’t worry, my brother isn’t actually named Fnord, but I thought he’d prefer his constant internet handle over a ‘Tim’ block. I owe all of my 2000 AD love to Tim, who would let me steal and mistreat his Progs when I was far, far too young. 

And that’s it! Thanks so much to Chris Wildgoose there for sending that one along. And thanks to Tim for letting Chris steal his Progs – always share nice, Earthlets, you’re building the essential next-generation of Squaxx dek Thargo!

You can find 2000 AD Prog 2280 wherever you pick up your weekly dose of Ghafflebette comics, including the 2000 AD web shop from 4 May.

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered: Dan Cornwell & ‘The Citadel’ finale… Glub, glub, glub says Dredd

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 sees the Scrotig finale to what’s bound to be one of the major tales of the year – Judge Dredd: The Citadel by John Wagner and Dan Cornwell. After seeing Dredd vs Dredd on 2000 AD Prog 2277, Dan Cornwell returns for the cover of Prog 2279 with Dredd in deep water… but which Dredd is it? Well, Dan’s not telling and neither are we!

But trust us, The Citadel is one you’re definitely going to miss – and remember that the collection is available for pre-order right now!

First of all, Dan sends his apologies to you all – he’s looked everywhere (and yes, he did check down the back of the sofa and under the fridge) but just can’t find the pencils and the flats for this one… so just fill in the blanks. But I’m sure you’ll agree with us that we love seeing whatever Dan can send to us!

DAN CORNWELL: When Matt approached me about providing the cover for Prog 2277 – Double Dredd, he also said the cover for the final episode of ‘The Citadel’ in Prog 2279 was available if I was interested? Of course I was!

I’m sure the squazz are sick of the sight of me, so give them more? 

Nope, not a bit of it Dan, more, more, and more is always welcome!

More Dredds than you can shake a daystick at! Dan Cornwell’s prelims for the cover

DC: I had a number of prelims ready from the web exclusive of Citadel and Prog 2277 and sketched a few more for Matt. He liked the simple, clean image of Dredd? sinking into the depths.

He suggested I could add an image of Winterton in the background, or something along those lines. He said he liked the image as it also reminded him of Mike Collins’s cover to his book ‘Apollo’. 

That would be this one… a cracking graphic novel from SelfMadeHero

DC: I started to pencil the image on my regular A3 bristol board then I started playing with adding Winterton in the background. After a few false starts, I ended up swaying to an image of Winterton looming in the depths.

Once it worked well as an image I then tightened the pencils and inked the image. I chose the red background to symbolise blood. Well that was the idea anyway. 

Jaws 5 – Attack of the dome
(and yes, this is exactly where Pete would make the gag about Dredd’s nethers being violated!)

Once the inks were finished I scanned the pic in photoshop, added the flats then transferred it to Procreate for finished colours. I added highlights, textures and filters. 

The more the image came together the more it was looking like a James Bond cover or even Jaws. Not a bad thing I guess.   

Up from the depths… 30 stories high… it’s Winter-Zilla! (but where’s Winter-zookie?)

And thanks so much to Dan for taking the time to send that along – even though he’s drowning in deadlines right now for future Thrill Powered Prog episodes!

You can find Dan’s cover to 2000 AD Prog 2279 out on the shelves and in the 2000 AD web shop from 27 April – and remember, inside you’ll find the Ghafflebette finale to The Citadel by John Wagner and Dan Cornwell – which Dredd is which? And who lives? Who dies? And why? There’s only one way to find out Earthlets… get out there and buy it now!  

And remember, the Citadel collection is out on 20 July, complete with a web shop exclusive hardcover with a brand-new Dan Cornwell cover!

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered: it’s a fungicidal Goya – talking Megazine 443 with cover artist Pye Parr

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 month’s Judge Dredd Megazine has a fabulous looking Judge Goya cover as Intestinauts artist Pye Parr switches over from the Prog to the Meg to give us his take on Death Cap’s hero as she makes her way across the Cursed Earth in search of revenge, desperate to find those who killed everyone she loved before the fungus in her head takes over and kills her.

(Damn, now that’s a mean machine right there)

So, over to Pye for a breakdown on the cover… first up, the brief from Tharg…

PYE PARR: Everything started after Matt (Tharg) got in touch with a pretty simple brief: “In the story Death Cap that Boo is drawing, the main character gets this modded Mad Max-style Lawmaster. I was thinking of a kinetic shot of her speeding towards us on the bike. She’s been infected with the Grubb’s fungus…”

I did the first one on my iPad in front of the tv. It looked crap so I tried again a bit later on. I expanded on the grubs fungus thing and put mushrooms everywhere.

All of that trial and error means three different cover roughs…

(Damn that fungus, Goya’s just got no clue whether she’s coming or going.)

With the rough approved, it’s time to get moving, especially as print deadline day is coming up fast… back to Pye again…

Pencils drawn, scanned then cleaned up, and final linework. I moved Goya’s head out from behind the handlebars so you could see her face better on the final version.

(Taking it from pencils to inks – Goya’s fungal nightmare develops)

Then it’s time for the colouring progress. I started off pretty muted, but there was a couple of weeks gap between image 2 and 3 here, so when i came back to it I was like “fuck all that dull stuff, this needs some acid green and pink!” 

(Acciiiiiidddd! Acccciiiiidddd! – See kids, this is what the special mushrooms can lead to!)

And all that gets us to the final artwork. It *might* have caused The Mighty One some heart palpitations here by messing up my timings and not supplying it till 6pm on print deadline day… 

(She’s a rough-ridin’, ‘shroom-sproutin’, mad as hell fungicidal Judge and she’s comin to get ya!)

And that’s it, from basic idea from Matt all the way through to a stunning final cover for what’s turning out to be a stunning series. Of course, for putting Tharg through that last-minute worry, the Parr droid is getting his very sensitive circuits repeatedly driven over by Goya’s mean machine for the next few weeks.

Thanks so much to Pye Parr for sending over all that great artwork and sharing how he does the great things he does!

Death Cap, by TC Eglington and Boo Cook, continues its run in the Megazine issue 443 – all capped off with Pye’s cover and available from 20 April in all great shops and the 2000 AD web shop. And don’t forget that Pye’s art can be found in the Prog right now with the latest installment of the intestinal infiltrators as the Intestinauts meet the Bowel Impactors.

And finally, for more background on Eglington and Cook’s absolutely brilliant Death Cap, check out the interview with the pair of them here.

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered: ‘I like weird’ – INJ Culbard takes us down, down, down for Prog 2278

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 brilliant INJ Culbard takes the reins for the cover to 2000 AD Prog 2278, out on 21 April from everywhere and anywhere that delivers Thrill Power. It’s a mind-bending cover from Brink: Mercury Retrograde as poor old investigative journo Mas heads down, down, down into the underworks in the company of retired Union boss Eugene Bardot. And it’s suitably twisted and strange…  

So, without further ado, the unsettling beauty of INJ Culbard’s Brink cover…

INJ CULBARD: For the brief of Prog 2278, it was Bardot inviting Maslow into the vents. Again, I stuck with the concentric eye theme. Now, the layout for this seemed pretty straightforward forward… 

When a sinister looking man invites you in…not a bloody chance!
INJ Culbard’s first layout for the Prog

But… well, something about it wasn’t weird enough, and I like weird. So… I did a quick copy and paste of Bardot to show him repeating off into the darkness. This got approval… 

Oh yes, more of them… much creepier. Run. Run now!

And then I went on to color, and this took me a while. Compositionally something interesting happened, the irises seem to almost spiral as they go off into the darkness. 

Thanks to Ian for taking the time (and the punishment) to get this to us. But it’s well worth it to see his process in play, as his work on Brink, along with Dan Abnett, is always a highlight of any Prog it’s in!

2000 AD Prog 2278 is out on shelves and digital on 21 April – get it from the 2000 AD web shop, comic shops, and wherever you find your Thrill Power!

And to end, a look back over the Brink covers of the past… all of them featuring that idea of Culbard playing on circular imagery to create some of the best, most effective, and just plain disturbing images of the past several years…

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered – It’s Dredd vs Dredd for Prog 2277 with Dan Cornwell

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…

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered – Tiernen Trevallion’s Vampire Constanta Extravaganza for 2000 AD Prog 2276

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 the splendour that is the latest cover work on 2000 AD Prog 2276 from the over-worked circuits of the art droid behind Fiends of the Eastern Front: 1963, Tiernen Trevallion!

Right now, Tiernen’s right in the middle of drawing the finale to this latest Fiends of the Eastern Front thriller, 1963, set deep in the heart of cold war Berlin, where the vampire Constanta has already found himself in big, big trouble at the hands (and the sword) of Baba Yaga.

Both Tiernen and writer Ian Edginton have really outdone themselves in their continuing exploration of the blood-red history of the vampire Constanta across the ages, and Fiends of the Eastern Front: 1963 is just the latest series to follow in the blood-drenched footsteps of the character created back in 1980 for 2000 AD Progs 152-161 by Gerry Finley-Day and the legendary Carlos Ezquerra.

However, Tiernen has to send his apologies to all you readers again – after being so overwhelmed with deadlines that he couldn’t get things together for his cold war collection of beauty that was the cover to 2000 AD Prog 2273, he sends even more apologies this time round as he’s currently being whipped into shape by Tharg’s specialist art-droid encouragement squad of trained professional torturers mentors to get the final pages of Fiends: 1963 done and dusted. But he did manage to send across a few pieces of art for your delectation and delight, along with these short explanation…

‘I’m afraid I really don’t keep much in the way of WIP’s… but here’s pencils, inks and colour. Put simply, each of the elements are inked on separate layers, then the background and each foreground elements are blocked in separately in colour… I usually very roughly drop in patches of colour to test, then work it up from there, adding shade and light as I go.’

All of which means this… Tiernen goes from pencils…

… to inks…

… to adding colours…

And once that’s all done, you have a damn fine cover showing us all that Constanta’s up against this time round in the snow of Berlin for Fiends of the Eastern Front: 1963.

And with that, the whip cracks again and Tiernen’s back to work!

Thanks to Tiernen Trevallion for sending that work through – you can see the finished cover on the front of 2000 AD Prog 2276, out on 6 April and available everywhere the Galaxy’s Greatest is sold, including the 2000 AD web shop.

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered: the return of the indigestible, undefeatable, gut-busting, stomach-saving Intestinauts – Pye Parr Covers Prog 2275

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!

Bowels bothering you? Feeling a little dicky down in the tummy? Well, you’re in luck, because 2000 AD Prog 2275 sees the return of The Intestinauts in The Bowel Impactors by the abdominally afflicted Arthur Wyatt and the positively pustulant Pye Parr.

So, hold onto your lunch, here’s Pye Parr to talk you through the cover to Prog 2275…

PYE PARR: I thought that panel (1a) from page 1 of the story might make a cool cover, and I liked the jarring effect of having something massive and upside down on the cover, so I expanded on it and sent Tharg the thumbnail. I was also keen to do something more simple than normal – less cluttered with background crap and focused on the character silhouettes.

Taking this from episode 1…
… and turning it into this as a proto-cover
Or… Smile! – At least you’re not dropping into doo-doo… oh, wait, that’s the whole point of the strip, isn’t it?

I almost always start in pencil, even if I finish digitally. The drawings end up tighter, which helps me with the details, even if they’re not quite as perfectly put together (wonky circles and wobbly straight lines) as they’d be if I did them on the computer.

I also tend to waft over details with a fat brush when sketching digitally, which is lovely and suggestive but doesn’t help when I come to do the proper linework, as there’s not enough information to work with! Plus an actual drawing you can look at and hold is just a satisfying thing to have.

Wonky circles and wobbly straight lines – Pencils all done

Placement test and final linework time now. I scanned the pencils and added some pink in the background to put Tharg’s mind at ease – his one bit of feedback after seeing the art was something like ‘please don’t cover the Prog in hideous brown diarrhea’. Lurid meaty pink it is!

After scanning I dropped the art into a cover template to check the fit and allowed enough room for the other design stuff. 

The final linework was done in Clip Studio Paint. When doing covers I always add more bleed than normal to give me some wiggle room when designing the text (plus I have a habit of not giving stuff enough room to breathe, and it means I can zoom out later on when I notice!)

Decisions decisions – the hideous brown diarrhea or the lurid meaty pink?

Next it’s on to colours, again in clip studio paint. I made an Illustrator file with all the Intestinaut name badges/decals etc in, so they’re pasted from that at the end.

The final cover, colours and all – it’s almost tasteful!

And finally… final design time. Apart from adding in the cover lines, the main change I made from the mockup was to lose the second leg over the 2000ad logo – I liked the extra line of text at the top and it made that unreadable. i also zoomed out a tiny bit and moved the art up in the frame to minimise as many awkward interactions between the text and the objects as possible. All done!

Now to get on with finishing the colours on the last two parts before the inevitable Rigelian Hotshot arrives… 

Rather than letting Pye face the wrath of Tharg (and that’s some nasty wrath he’s got), we figured it was time to let him get back to the drawing board, pop some more ant-acids to combat the nausea and get right on with filling the pages with the incredible intestinal warriors!

Thank you to Pye for taking the time to chat and you can find Pye Parr’s particularly putrid cover as well as the first episode of The Intestinauts: The Bowel Impactors on the shelves and in the 2000 AD web shop with 2000 AD Prog 2275 from 30 March!

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered: Vote Freely! – Megazine 442 cover by Phil Winslade

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!

Wow! Check out that blood-soaked masterpiece of a cover for Judge Dredd Megazine 442 – out on the stands and from the 2000 AD web shop right now!

As we speed headlong into Badrock’s forthcoming election in Lawless: Ballots Over Badrock, artist Phil Winslade ramps up the tension with this deceptively optimistic, then devastatingly gory wraparound cover, just what does Phil and Dan have in store for us in Badrock’s first election?

“So I wanted to do a cover with the election poster from the strip being the main focus.” Says artist Phil Winslade, “And I wanted to paint that poster, as I haven’t ever done a version of the Kitchener’s ‘Your Country Needs You!’”

Pull my finger!

Of course, Phil is the master of the wraparound, with seven of his nine Lawless covers offering us dangerously unsafe levels of extra thrillpower, which is highly irresponsible if you ask me!

Phil gives us an insight into his process and motivation for his double-page masterpieces, he said “I have been doing wraparounds since the third cover and enjoy how they look and the extra dimension they give. The back cover needs to be less important than the right-hand side, but gives you an extra dimension to the cover when seen as a whole. An extra bit of storytelling context to the main image, if you will. I wanted the poster in the image to look distressed by blood in some way to give it more tension and drama.”

Well, he’s certainly done that! My feeling of dread for the forthcoming election episodes is palpable!

Phil continues “I also wanted to introduce an idea of the chaos of the Badrock elections. This idea had been in my head for a while; either a wall of posters with blood spatters as in the first part of ‘Ballots…’ or a floor shot of the aftermath of some violent event. I chose the latter version because I could add a hand or foot in of a victim, which brings the idea across much better than spattering a load of overlapping posters. This version also gave me the nod to the iconic Dave Gibbons watchmen badge image. Tharg approved my thumbnail image and off I went!”

And one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you!

“I wanted the poster distressed by footprints to give that feeling of ‘yesterday’s news is today’s chip paper.’ The original drawings of both poster and badge were drawn as pencils for the first part of “Ballots…”

La Placa Rifa
You’ll never put a betta bit of Metta in your life!

Giving us a real glimpse into how this incredibly intricate artist works, Phil continues “This meant that they could be pasted into my pencils numerous times and at different angles, but would give me a consistency for inking on a lightbox. I pencil either on paper or on an iPad, print them out to size and then use a lightbox to see the prints through the board when I ink. This means my inked pages don’t have pencil lines to rub out or blue lines to get rid of during digital editing – blue lines give me a false sense of line weight and ink can be undermined by rubbing out on it.” Truly fascinating.

He continues “The whole cover became a collage assembled on the computer from separate paintings because I wanted to have a clean version of the poster so it could be used as a pin-up or print to go with the sense of the campaign, along with the badges. A kind of created artifact for the readers – a bit of fun. :)”

A BIG tease from Phil next, as he alludes to future events which really don’t sound good at all… “As I was laying it down on the board, I struck on the idea of having SJS Judge McClure reflected in the blood pool, as much to give it a sense of liquidity. It started as a shadow, but I felt that would be a bit difficult to read and thought a silhouette of an SJS judge looming would be significant, especially in light of the events to follow in the story to come.” Ooooooh, scary!

“At some point I thought it would be cooler upside down, to create a kind of compositional vertical symmetry, but more because I thought it looked cool! This image is my first note drawn with touch pad of my laptop in Photoshop. I worked it up on the board…”

Van Gogh cut off his ear, Phil went one step further…

The first element to be completed on the cover was that sumptuous Kitchener-esque poster. Phil said “I did the poster first and slid that under the back cover layer later.”

Make Badrock Great Again!

Next he used erm… extremely technical methods to create the footprints. He explains “The footsteps were created in a ‘Changing Rooms’ fashion by cutting out a stencil from a plastic folder and stippling and smearing the paint into the holes. Originally I wanted to use some shoes but they would have been way too big!”

Move over Llewelyn-Bowen, there’s a new designer in town!

Almost finished, just one more element to add “I pasted the badge on last.”

Of course, we all knew Metta when she was Facebook.

“I hope it’s a good representation of the current storyline and where it’s going. This is an important and game changing period for Metta and co and for Dan and me.

Oh, and if someone wants to make badges and posters, I expect to get one!”

Metta Critics!

Thank you so much to Phil for sending the images and brilliant text. With his excellent panel layouts and mindboggling level of detail on every page, it is amazing that he found time to share his process with us! What lucky squaxx we are! 

Judge Dredd Megazine Issue 442 is out right now from anywhere Thrillpower is sold, including the 2000 AD web shop!

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered – Better Late Than Never, INJ Culbard’s Brink Cover For Prog 2272

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’re headed back in time… to 2000 AD Prog 2272 and the wonderful art of INJ Culbard.

Ian’s work on the latest mind-bending, slow-building, completely thrilling, and frankly downright amazing Brink series; Mercury Retrograde is, as you’d expect, superb. When Prog 2272 came out, he was hard at work at the drawing board doing his thing – but he did promise to send along what process material he had – and here it is!

INJ CULBARD: The brief was the protests seen from episode three. I knew I wanted to use the Vovek tattoo on someone’s forehead so I centred that, not to the page but to where the Brink Logo sits above it (in the event any of these covers are used for the collection, because the Brink logo has a circular cut running through it.

Because this already existed as a panel, I just needed to pick a different angle and people it, it was pretty straightforward. So here’s my rough for that. 

And here’s the finished piece. Took me ages to get the color on this working right. I went through dozens of iterations (non of which I’ve kept). 

Thanks to Ian for taking the time to get this to us. Always such a pleasure to see where the strange thinking behind Brink is going! Brink: Mercury Retrograde is in the Prog right now and it’s a belter!

Make sure you catch up with the whole saga of Brink, written by Dan Abnett, art by INJ Culbard in the four books available. It’s one of the greatest modern series to grace the pages of the Prog, a police procedural with a sci-fi twist, a conspiracy theory for the ages, a stunning bit of graphic fiction!

Buy them here – Brink Book 1, Brink Book 2, Brink Book 3, Brink Book 4.

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered – Brian Bolland plays the greatest hits at 45!

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 – it’s time to throw on your best glad rags and get ready to celebrate, as the Galaxy’s Greatest celebrates 45 years of delivering the Thrill Power! Tharg’s laying down the tunes, so throw those hands in the air like you just don’t care and enjoy a very special bumper Prog 2270.

Oh yes, did we mention the cover’s by none other than Brian Bolland?

GET 2000 AD PROG 2270 NOW >>

It’s the return of another master for a very special cover for a very special Prog, with The Mighty One throwing down the tunes to get this anniversary party started!

It was an absolute thrill to see Bolland back on the front of the Prog, made even better by getting to see how it’s all put together. Seriously, when it comes to legendary cover stars, Tharg’s really been spoiling us – first we had Mick MacMahon on Prog 2250 and now we get to see Brian Bolland on Prog 2270.

Of course, as Brian works completely digital and has done for a lot longer than most, it’s not the usual breakdown of a cover from initial concepts through pencils, inks, and colours. Instead, it’s more the case of Brian sending along the various elements of the cover, with Tharg playing DJ against a backdrop of the classic characters from the past, present, and future of 2000 AD.

So, ready to drop that needle and bring the beats in… it’s Brian Bolland!

BRIAN BOLLAND: It was all Matt Smith’s idea (so you can blame him). Matt’s been in the job for a mere 20 years so he’ll get the hang of it one day.

He said (and I paraphrase) “It’s 45 years so how about Tharg as a DJ spinning some 45rpm records with 2000AD characters’ faces on them?”

(For our younger subscribers “45rpm records” were pieces of flat vinyl with popular hit tunes etched into each side.)

All of that led to the very first concept that Brian sent off to Tharg looking like this – a tribute to TMO’s turntabling skills…


Of course, 45s being small things and the labels on them being even smaller – there was a bit of a problem. Over to Brian again…

BRIAN BOLLAND: Yes, immediately a problem arose. The labels on 45s are very small and if a face was on each it would be vanishingly tiny – so I suggested making them “picture discs”.

Okay, that would work, but to make it clear they were vinyl records and not just random circular panels there had to be a hole in the middle of each. Some people have asked why Judge Anderson, for instance, has an unsightly spot in the middle of her nose. The centre hole goes right though Slaine’s eye.

The turntable deck was found online. One comment said that, if Tharg was really spinning those discs, the deck would be the other way round. Well, you can’t please all of the people all of the time! Tharg, himself, hasn’t got back to me. I also inserted the display of covers in the background from my own collection. Mostly mine but there had to be others by Gibbons, MacMahon and other brilliant artists you may have heard of.

And that was that – another Bolland banger in the bag!

Now, those stages of putting the cover together, beginning with his spectacular rogues gallery of the best of 2000 AD, Bolland-style…


And then in comes the Galaxy’s Greatest DJ – with Tharg getting ready to let the beat…



So, as Tharg’s warming up his digits to start DJ-ing, the Bolland droid gets on with adding his colours to the mix…


And after all of that laying down the art, brings us to this, the finished cover for 2000 AD Prog 2270.


Thank you so much to Brian for sending over everything over to us and showing us how this one came together.

2000 AD Prog 2270 is out now, Earthlets!