Happy Werewolf Wednesday- “Aaoooooo!” I recently finished a new sketchcover I thought I’d share with you.
It’s a Henry Hull/Werewolf Of London (1935) marker illustration drawn on an Antarctic Press Horror Comics blank comics cover.
If you aren’t familiar with what a sketchcover is, it’s fairly simple. They are a regular comic with an additional blank variant cover (usually 1 or 2 sided with just a masthead logo, issue number, and bar-code/price) artists can draw/paint on. Many comic publishers offer them- some at regular cover price, others higher (some are a retailer incentive). Comic fans can commission artists to draw on, or even collect collect doodles or autographs on. Folks use pencils, inks, markers, paint, watercolors, dyes- just about any art medium they choose. Sketchcovers, like sketchcards (blank trading cards you can draw on), are a fun collectible and selling them helps support mine and my wife’s comic habit. (This link may help describe them a bit more.)
As you probably know by now I’m a huge monster fan- especially the old B/W Universal horror movies. I’ve always loved this make-up design, which was done by the legendary Jack Pierce– who did many of the early Universal monster make-ups such as Frankenstein, The Wolfman, and The Mummy. It’s one of my all time favorite classic looking movie werewolves. Something I didn’t realize until drawing this sketchcover was that Werewolf Of London predates The Wolfman by 6 years (1935/1941) and is considered to be the first mainstream werewolf film.
For me the bigger the canvas the better! Been a bit too hot lately for me to get any airbrushing done out in the garage, but hope to get back to it this fall. Had my compressor die, then shortly after I had to have cardiac double bypass surgery (obviously I didn’t die). Kind of took me out of the game for a while. My garage is almost back to where I can paint in it again after having to store a lot of our house in there when we had the floors redone. Working on building new shelves for canvases and an new adjustable easel/workspace for me to paint on.
Sometimes I’ll draw a horror sketchcard. Smaller, but still fun and I like working with markers. (I just finished up a MANOS: The Hands OF Fate horror sketchcard set you can see in my last blog post). I can draw these and sketchcovers while enjoying some A/C in the Batcave studio. (You can check out my “The Art Of Robert Aragon” horror sketchcards here.)
For the first time this weekend I worked on a horror sketchcover- I know, right..?! I don’t remember if I ordered these Horror Comics through my local comic shop, picked them up at a con, or ordered them with some other sketchcovers. I know I didn’t notice they were from Antarctic Press, because that may have kept me from buying them. Didn’t have a good experience with the publisher back when I was working with some friends on Stargods (see also Stargodz) and American Woman. Long story, I can tell ya later about it if you’d like.
I first started off on this cover illustration like just about everyone I have before- in pencil. I use a BiC #2 0.5mm click pencil most of the time (that’s it above on the left). Pencils seemed to go fairly well on the cover, or so I thought.
When I applied my Copic markers I noticed they didn’t really soak into the paper. They kind of smeared around and took for ever to dry. They also were pulling up some of the pencil lines. Great…the coverstock was not only a bit thinner than normal, but a bit slick as well. Had this problem with a HitGirl sketchcover, and have avoided a Supergirl one for the same reason. Great, here we go again. Normally the coverstock soaking up too much markers can be a problem. Happens sometimes with sketchcards. Too thin they bleed through, too thick they tend to act like a sponge and soak up your details and leave the art looking flat.
Unlike the Supergirl one I had already committed to working on this sketchcover and was too late just to do a pencil illustration, so like the HitGirl comic I had to figure out a way to make it work. I kept going with the markers, but instead of going over them to try and blend the colors I tried to hit it once and be done with it. Any going back over would pick up the previous color. I tried to let the colors dry before going anywhere near a previous area and that seemed to help.
I also ended up inking more with my black Pigma Micron pens, and white Gelly Roll pens. I tried being a bit looser and sketchy with it. That style was working better for me on this. I sprayed the cover images with some Krylon Matte Finish workable spray-fixative.
Once the spray-fix was dry I masked off the images. I then placed the comic in a flat box and took it outside to splatter the background. I used a toothbrush and some Copic marker ink from one of my refills and some Copic white I had thinned down some. After I was done I noticed that most of the “COMICS” in the masthead logo had been covered up, so once the previous splatter was dry I had to stipple that by hand with pens and a marker. Problem solved.
Once I had done some additional touch-ups here and there I gave it another light spray of fixative and called it a night. I think it turned out well, just wish it hadn’t been fighting back the whole time. Do need to re-watch this movie. I haven’t seen it in years, and only remember a couple scenes.
I have this sketchcover for sale out at The Cellar with my other sketchcovers and sketchcards. They are located at 2737 Bartlett Blvd. out in Bartlett, TN. In Memphis, if you take the Sycamore View exit off I-240 and head towards Raleigh-Lagrange Road, they are just past the Bartlett Park on the left just before you get to Stage Road. Or, if you are coming off of Stage they are on the right after you pass the movie theater shopping center and just before you get to the park. I used to hang out and draw there on Wednesday nights, (click the previous link or this one) but due to the pandemic that’s not possible now. Their temporary hours are now 12:00 to 7:00 every day. I don’t know if they have any blanks for sale there, but they should. I do remember seeing some at Comics & Collectibles off Poplar in Memphis. If you are in the Memphis area and are interested in drawing any for yourself ask The Cellar, Comics & Collectibles, 901 Comics, Jupiter Comics– or contact your local comic shop if they can order some. I’ve also bought many online, too. They are a lot of fun and a unique collectible- and a great way to get hubby points for me with my wife. Have drawn a few covers as gifts for her.
Think I may work on another Batman sketchcover next. I’ve got another Horror Comics cover or two, but think I may hold off on those. Will probably do all pencils on them- can use different leads and the spray-fix to give it a bit more tooth and help keep from smearing. I’ve got a Penny Dreadful sketchcover (or two) and I’m hoping they have better paper to draw on. Really would like to get back to drawing more ’70s TV superheroes, too- need to do a Hulk, Wonder Woman, Doctor Strange, and some more Spiderman and Captain America ones. Check out my last blog for my latest Cap sketchcover. Also have some time lapse art videos of it and this werewolf cover on my Instagram (@linworkmanart).
Trying to spend more time here in the Batcave working on art, but the heat at the day job has been kicking my behind so I’m a bit worn out by the time I get home. My hours have been cut back some, so right now I have Wednesdays off which is a nice break in the week to draw and get household chores done, too. Also means I get to have breakfast and lunch with Nicki while she works from home. It’s a hit to my weekly paycheck, but with the Memphis summer heat and humidity being scary and brutal I’ll take the $ hit.
Hope you’re all safe and doing well. Cheers!