Covering Number 6
Posted by Tyler Chin-Tanner on Nov 3, 2011
This may seem somewhat backwards, but now that American Terrorist is done and has been published as a complete graphic novel, I’m going back and splitting it up so it can be serialized digitally.
Well, I actually started serializing it earlier, breaking up the first 2 chapters into 4 digital editions. I had initially done this as a way to gain exposure and get some feedback before the book was completed, but as I got further along my focused switched to just getting the whole story done and putting it out as it was intended to be, as one single graphic novel.
But of course this left me with an audience who had read the first half of the book as digital issues. I don’t want to make them buy the full book just to read the second half. Not that the first half was all that expensive seeing as the first issue is free and the other 3 are only 99 cents, but still, I decided the best thing to do was to finish up the serialization.
And new issues means new covers, so in this column I’m going to share my process for creating the cover for issue #6. My idea for it was to do a riff off of the iconic image from Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA album.
And it’s worth noting that both the album and the song were meant as a critique on America, not as a pure patriotic love-fest that some have made it out to be. The lyrics to the song talk about being sent off to die in Vietnam because you were born in the USA. So I thought it was appropriate to re-imagine it as a critique on modern culture.
My first step was to draw thumbnails. These were small and really quick. I didn’t have to do too much in terms of setting up the composition because that was already provided for me by the original image. I just wanted to get a few sketches in to get the pose right.
Then I went right into a full-sized rough. You can see how I worked outside the border of the image to make sure I got everything right. I wanted to get the right curve of the spine and placement of the arms as they came back down into the image.
I then transferred this rough onto an art board and then tightened up the pencils. Since I knew I would be inking it myself I didn’t have to get in all the details, just enough to give me a clear idea of what I wanted to do. Of course, the other side of that is sometimes I’ll put in more details in the pencils and then simplify it while inking. You can see there were actually more wrinkles and creases in the clothing that I took out in the inks.
Once the inks were done, I sent the image off to Michael Wiggam to color it. He did a great job. I love the effects of the red stripes. It gives it more of that “designer jean ad” feel.
All that was left was to put the logo on it. I had to decide how it would look best. The regular black logo wouldn’t have looked right here, so worked in some different color combinations. I finally decided upon dark blue for the logo. It doesn’t match any color in the image, but it does make up for the lack of blue in the flag. Then I matched the background color of the logo with the very light blue of her shirt.
I think the image ties together nicely and I’m happy with how it turned out. Next up is the cover for digital edition #7. Hopefully I’ll have that done for you next week. Time to get back to work.
Tyler Chin-Tanner started his own publishing company, A Wave Blue World, where he wrote and drew layouts for Adrenaline, its flagship series, Adrenaline and wrote its latest graphic novel, American Terrorist.
© 2011 Tyler Chin-Tanner. All rights reserved.
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