Anton Emdin Illustration & Cartoons
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Quicksand Cover Art (with process)

This week's cover art for The Spectator Australia, depicting Prime Minister Gillard following Kristina Keneally and the fallen NSW Labor government into the quicksand. Quicksand cover art © Anton Emdin for The Spectator Australia

And for all you process junkies out there...


The Process

Thumbnails

My editor called me on Saturday to brief me, and I only had a couple of hours to get thumbnails to him before he boarded a plane to the UK. I quickly sketched up a couple of ideas in my pocket sketchbook, took a photo on my mobile phone, and sent it to him as an MMS. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to get that onto my computer, so I scanned it here. We have the very rough scribblings of dominoes toppling, and quicksand.

Quicksand cover art © Anton Emdin for The Spectator Australia

Sketches

Quicksand was approved, and I moved onto some roughs...

Quicksand cover art © Anton Emdin for The Spectator Australia

Quicksand cover art © Anton Emdin for The Spectator Australia

Before refining it more to send over for approval...

Quicksand cover art © Anton Emdin for The Spectator Australia

At this stage I also work with it in the magazine layout template to make sure it all works with the 'furniture' (the type, headings etc.)...

Quicksand cover art © Anton Emdin for The Spectator Australia

Inks

All good, so I move onto inks. Like most of my commercial work, I draw this directly into Photoshop using a Wacom Cintiq interactive display using a plain old 'hard round' brush. Pressure sensitivity allows me to use it like a watercolour brush (never as good, though) to get the thin to thick, varied strokes that I love to make. I just take the sketch opacity down and draw the inks on a layer above it.

Quicksand cover art © Anton Emdin for The Spectator Australia

Colour

First I put down some simple, flat colours on a layer below the inks...

Quicksand cover art © Anton Emdin for The Spectator Australia

Then, I add a simple sky background gradient...

Quicksand cover art © Anton Emdin for The Spectator Australia

And then I start playing around with a few colour variations in the template...

Quicksand cover art © Anton Emdin for The Spectator Australia

Quicksand cover art © Anton Emdin for The Spectator Australia

Quicksand cover art © Anton Emdin for The Spectator Australia

Quicksand cover art © Anton Emdin for The Spectator Australia

I really liked the bluey green sky, but I wanted it to look more foreboding and oppressive. The orange sky looked cool and very Aussie, but it was a bit too similar to the quicksand, and I was worried that the foreground wouldn't stand out enough. I chose the dark green suit, as I knew my editor would like the hint that Labor is not only in the Greens' pocket, but wearing their clothes.

And so, I coloured it all up, added pinstripes to the suit, shading, a little texture on the sky, and arrived at the final art. Please click for a closer look...

Quicksand cover art © Anton Emdin for The Spectator Australia

Still waiting on the published cover, so will update this when it arrives. Just received it. Looks like the art department or printer has bumped up the colours...

Quicksand cover © Anton Emdin for The Spectator Australia

Thanks for stopping by - I appreciate it.

Cheers, Anton