Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Covering Horror with my art stench.

Hey there folks,

The past few weeks in Vinceville have been quite busy. So much so my mind is a blur. There was Melksham Comic Con (which was brilliant and great to see all my creator chums again), and then my night at Netplay talking about The Red Mask From Mars (which was a great night and I met Iron Man!). On top of all that Ive been hard at work at the artwork for issue 2 of the Red Mask, which is going to be OFF THE CHAIN!! So much action packed fun, but boy did I ever give myself a hard task in terms of drawing it all (note to self: Giant space shark snake hybrids with earthy stone-like armour might be an awful lot of work to draw over and over, especially in epic fight scenes :D)

I'll blog more about these adventures soon. Just need to get my head around it all. *wipes forehead* Phew!

Ive been getting all up in the spooky and horror based work recently. I bloody love horror so getting the chance to properly get stuck into some horror design has been great fun.Firstly there was my 3 page Halloween Red Mask special story which is now with the marvelous Shaun Dobie (Descending Outlands) to add his colouring brilliance too, and then I moved onto the latest book covers by my author pal Daniel Marc Chant.

He's lined up his next two books to come out and came to me for the covers again (after being so pleased with the cover to Burning House (chalk one in the win column :D). Of course it was my pleasure, and knowing what the books are actually about I couldnt wait to get into the zone of creating something that would be equally fitting for the stories.

First up is a Lovecraftian inspired survival horror story called Maldicion.  Check out my cover design (hopefully it will give you nightmares ;D)and the 'back cover synopsis' type bit to get you even more enticed about it.

Dexter LeGrasse thought he was lucky to be alive.

He was wrong.

The only survivor of a plane crash over the Atlantic, he finds himself washed up on an uninhabited island. Dazed, dehydrated and desperate to escape, he will have to use all his wits just to stay alive in a strange and unforgiving environment. But when he discovers an ancient ruin, he unwittingly unleashes an unstoppable evil and his nightmare truly begins

Primal, merciless and fuelled by a burning hatred, the creature has a hunger that must be appeased. It hunts Dexter wherever he goes, driving him to the edge of his own sanity, and with time running out and no place left to hide it's escape...

...or die.

A heart-pounding chase across lethal terrain, MaldiciĆ³n splices the rush of a survival thriller with the twisted creations of HP Lovecraft to create a man versus monster tale unlike any other.

I've been lucky enough to read an early draft of Maldicion, and it was right up my street. I love a good monster tale and this one has a beast that is a terrifying force of nature. Instant win. The tension is almost unbearable in some parts and it builds to a thrilling climax. In short... I loved it!
Designing the cover was an exercise in creating a jigsaw of terror, and I lost track of how many layers and images I put into it. I definitely went for a movie poster type vibe for this one, and going to do so with all the books moving forward. This meant also including a 'tag line' which I think gives it a little bit more of an edge. Since posting it on twitter the feedback has been amazing which is so humbling, and I think that the piece is doing its job of hooking people into the book already. Plus I love HP Lovecraft and tentacle visuals, so working with that kind of stuff was brilliantly icky.
Maldicion will be launching in November and Dan will be table sharing with me and the Red Mask From Mars at the BCP International Comics and Books Fair on the 22nd November, so you can come and get a print copy from the man himself on the day! 

His next book (which he is writing as we speak) is called Mr. Robespierre, and let me tell you... this one sounds like its destined to become a creepy indie classic! If you like the atmospheric horror of things like Poltergeist, Insidious and Rosemarys Baby then you are going to love this one. Plus its a horror story all about a cat, so how can it not be a huge bag of win.

“It's him. It's Mr. Robespierre. We never should have let him in.” 

When Dominic and Sandy Wight leave their council home for the picturesque Lovels St Maur, they can’t wait to move in to Bridgewater Rise. Dilapidated but charming, the new house is everything they have worked for. There’s even a stray cat waiting outside to welcome them.

Adored by the couple’s daughter, Christina, he rapidly becomes a part of the family. But Mr Robespierre is anything but a welcome visitor, and with his arrival a darkness falls over Bridgewater Rise. Thunderstorms rage, objects move on their own and mysterious noises can be heard throughout the house.  For behind Mr Robespierre's eyes lays an unquenchable evil. A powerful and hungry malcontent that threatens to take everything that the Wight's hold dear to them and will let nothing and no one stand in its way.

Soon the family will have to do everything they can to escape, but how can you fight nine lives… with three?

Combining the tension of Poltergeist with the domestic horror of M.R. James, Mr Robespierre is a chilling tale of demonic infiltration and one families fight against the supernatural that will make you think twice about opening your door to that quiet, mysterious stray that is standing on your doorstep…
Mr. Robespierre will be entering your lives in 2015, and I for one cannot wait to read this one!!

The moment Dan told me of the concept of Mr Robespierre (and also how an encounter with a stray cat that Jo and I had influenced him) I immediately thought that this had the potential to be absolute gold. It was also a concept when I immediately had an idea for the cover, a simple, striking and effective less is more approach, but this meant it was a case of getting the right 'star of the show'. Again, wanted to make it quite cinematic, but this time in a more vintage old school poster kind of way. Plus Robespierre himself had to look perfect. He is the focus after all. This time around, I'm hugely proud of the tag line I came up with for it. It gives a real cinematic sense of dread but also has a sense of devillish fun about it.
Each of Dans horror books are very different to each other, and so I want my cover artwork to represent that. Makes it a fun challenge and its always great working with Dan, and so far he's happy with how they've all turned out.
But which one is your favourite folks? Get in touch and let me know!
To find out more about Dans books and hear his general warblings check out his blog here or follow him on twitter @danielmarcchant

Right, best get back to the drawing board. Theres a Red Mask calling my name. Well, he might actually be calling me names, cheeky sod.

Until next time, always check under your bed for the boogeyman people!

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