Monster Monday: “I Am…DRACULA!” – My Latest Sketchcover

Greetings – I bid you welcome to another Monster Monday..!

Hey, gang- this blog post features another sketchcover – this time a   for my friend Eric Crimmins.

Eric owns a few of my Monsterpieces and comics, indluding my Mummy and Michael Myers paintings.

Eric is a fellow monster kid, and he and his wife Sandy (a clssic monster movie fan herself) recently bought my “You Can Call Me ‘AL’” marker illustration at the MSCA’s “Drawing Blood” art show during the run of the play “Dracula: The Bloody Truth” at Germantown Community Theatre back in October.

Glad Grandpa Munster went to a good home.

This new sketchcover was drawn on an Image Comics Universal Monsters: Dracula” #1 blank.

Sketchcovers are regualr comics with special cardstock covers you can draw on. They usually have a white cover with just the masthead/logo on them, but some come with special areas to draw in/on, or are different colors.


There are many, many different styles, properties, and titles to choose from. We’ve got a great selection of sketchcover blanks at 901 Comics East to choose from, or ask your local comic retailer if they carry them or can order some for you. You can also find some on sites such as eBay, or sketchcover groups on Facebook.

I’ve got a couple finished sketchcovers at 901 Comics East, and am always happy to answer any art questions whenever I’m in the shop (8551 Macon Road – Cordova, TN).

We also have a couple for sale that were done by comic artist Jerry Bingham (“Batman: Son Of The Demon”) back when he was in the shop.

I started off on this comic by taking a couple Bela/Dracula photos into Photoshop and getting them to the proper sizes for the comic cover, printed it out, then transferred the images onto the comic by using graphite I had rubbed on the back of the printout. I traced the outlines and marked some of the details’ locations with a yellow #2 pencil. This technique is kind of like using carbon paper.

The “tracing” does’t give me all the details, and the majority of the drawing is done by hand in pencil. Like using my projector to crop photo reference for my paintings, it just really saves time (and a lot of erasing) and helps me get the proportions and positioning of the characters correct. I can scale and move the images in the computer- sometimes just moving something to the left or right, or making 10-15% smaller or bigger can really affect the composition.

I don’t have a lot of spare time to draw these days so this is a technique that helps me get more done. Sometimes I will draw freehand directly on a sketchcover (or sketchcard) for fun and practice, especially if I’m working from a photo from my iPhone or laptop and didn’t get a chance to print out the images.

Once the initial pencil drawing was done, I took some torn tissue and a few drops from a Copic marker refill bottle and dabbed it around the cover in a random pattern for the background. I once saw Jim Lee do it and it can give a cool effect. I then got out a medium grey Copic marker and started filling in some of the more solid areas of color.

I then started “flatting my blacks” and filling in some of the darker areas of the drawing. I have no real rule on how I pick which colors to start with and tend to do these differently depending on the illustration I’m doing. Usually it’s light to dark, but Ihave been known to go darker to lighter, inside to outside and vice versa. Most times I will pull the marker towards the light source, sometimes I do a solid fill. See what works for you and how the makers react. You can always test a color or technique on a scrap piece of paper first. 

I bounced back and forth from the front to the back of the color. It helps me not focus too much on one area- and also helps me from getting bored. I’m a lot slower these days, and I can’t draw for as long as I used to so I try to take breaks while I work. Get up, stretch my legs, refill my beverage, fix a snack, check on Nicki in her home office, do a household chore, etc. It gives my hands, eyes, back, and brain a bit of a rest.

I used the brush tips on the markers for the details and blending, and the broad chisel points to fill in the larger solit areas. I used a comination of cool, warm, and neutral grey Copic makers, as well as some Weisbrandt ones, too. The “red” of his cape was done with warm markers.

Once I got the maker work done I did some linework with a black Sakura Pigma Micron pen. I used a fine/medium line weight with an 03 pen – it’s usually my go to pen nib size.

When the inking was done I did the highlights with an 05 and 08 white Sakura Gelly Roll pen and a white Prismacolor pencil. They make a Gelly Roll pen with a 10 sized nib which I just found out about and will have to track down one to try out.


After the hightlights I went back with my #2 pencil and blended the shadows a bit more. I’ve leared that taking a photo of your work and then looking at it on your phone can help with correcting porportion mistakes and adjusting contrast that you may not realise just looking at the comic (or canvas) with your naked eye.

It really helps when I’m painting on large canvases. Sometimes when painting that big I tend to focus on certain areas and don’t pay enough attention to others. Just stepping back a few feet from time to time while painting can litterally help me see the big picture! 


Once finished with the sketchcover I sprayed it with a light coating of Kyrlon workable spray fixative, let it dry, and then scanned it.

You can see some of Eric’s horror/sci-fi collection and try and win some monter pieces yourself during his Facebook auctions. He does them every other Saturday from 7-9pm Central time (he just had one this last weekend).

Hoping to see him set up at the upcoming Memphis Monster Con later this year at the 27,000-sq. ft. Pipkin Building at the SCAREgrounds/Liberty Park (940 Early Maxwell Blvd Memphis, TN 38104). I plan on having a table/booth there, and if you’re a fan of monsters I recommend putting that con on your list.

I also recommend catching a Beale Street Monster Club meeting. Next meeting is Sunday, February 11th at 2 P.M. for the Beale Street Monster Club Valentine’s Weekend Spectacular! This event will be held again at A. Schwab’s on Beale Street. Experience a thrilling presentation on the history of King Kong and a screening of the 1933 classic!

You can follow them on Facebook, and get a cool membership card when you join like I did.

Hope you “dug” my Dracula sketchcover. I love a chance to draw or paint the classic Universal Monsters, but for the record- I don’t do commissions. 😉

Type at ya later!


Monster Monday: “I Am…DRACULA!” – My Latest Sketchcover