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2000AD Covers Uncovered – A Pain in the Neck!

The REAL Batman returns as Rebellion prepare to release ‘The Dracula Files’, in October, just on time for Halloween! The classic tales, which originally appeared in Scream Magazine, were written by Rogue Trooper’s Gerry Finlay-Day and Simon Furman and perfectly illusrated by the legendary Eric Bradbury.  

Who better to ask to provide a terrifying cover than the brilliant Mr Chris Weston, who knows a thing or two about vampires and things that go bump in the night! Chris said “I was asked to create a cover for an all new collection of The Dracula File, which previously appeared in the much-loved but short-lived Scream weekly.

“Here’s the brief I was given: “The majority of the story takes place in eighties London, so I’d like the cover to encapsulate that. Maybe have Dracula attacking a city worker (with bowler cap and brief case), l– with a backdrop of Ben Ben/Parliament. It’s more comedy so don’t be scared to have fun.””

“As ever, I started the preparation for the job by taking some photo-reference, using myself as a model. I’ll spare your readers the sight of me poncing about with a cape on and fangs in. I then produced the following rough based on photos too gruesome to share:”

Pinstriped eek!

“I then use Google Sketch-up to find a 3d model of Big Ben and rendered a shot of the building at a suitably dramatic angle.”

Large Benjamin

Chris continues “This was montaged together with my sketch to produce a pretty comprehensive prelim of the cover. I even went on Google Earth and found the correct railing design for the Palace of Westminster. The lamp-post is accurate too. I don’t know why i bother making sure I get details like this right… it doesn’t make my life any easier.”

Those charity muggers are getting more extreme!

“Next, I added the logo and sent it off to Rebellion…”

Fangs can only get better!

“I got the thumbs up from them pretty quickly, and set about finishing the final version.
I tried something new on this piece: I produced a meticulously shaded pencil version of the image:”

It’s okay, Bernard had eaten chicken Kiev for his lunch…

“Next, I created a separate layer in photoshop and blocked in the colours. This is generally known in the trade as “flatting”, and most artists pay someone else to do this laborious task. I’m too tight and too much of a control-freak to trust someone else with that job, so did it myself.”

Flat battery!

“Using the flat layer to select areas I started tinting the pencil art to the required hue. Some water-colour textures were pasted in at this point to add atmosphere.”

Tinto Bats (if you get this pun, you should be ashamed of yourself!)

“Then it’s just a case of painting in extra shadows and highlights until the job is done.”

A blood sucking parasite and Dracula.

Blood banker

Wow, absolutely amazing! Thanks Chris! As I mentionws earlier, Chris has form with Vampires. He says “This is a very traditional, Lugosi-inspired take on Dracula, which was fun. Previously I’d created a silk-screen print homaging cinema’s original vampire tale, Murnau’s Nosferatu.”

“Monster, monster, monster!”

As well as this hilarious story “I did come very close to drawing a cover for one of David Bishop’s “Fiends of the Eastern Front” novels. I submitted a rough featuring Captain Costanza which, according to Garth Ennis, looked like he was doing something unspeakable to a Nazi skull. I don’t know if this was the reason my cover was rejected, but, alas, it was!”

Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him really well!

“Also, on a similar theme, I was once commissioned to draw a Black Max picture, a terrific strip from Thunder weekly. This is one of the strips recently acquired by Rebellion, so it wouldn’t surprise me if we see a collection of this story released at some point in the near future. But who should they get to create the cover of this potential collection? Any ideas?”

Banzai Battallion! 

Quite simply, another stunner from Chris. I’d have him doing every cover for every book if it were up me! Thanks to Chris for sending the raft of images, amazing work as ever! The Dracula Files is released on 19th October 2017, order yours or face the wrath of the Count!