March 25, 2014

Gorilla Grodd Flash Cover

They let me loose on a DC comic cover!  It’s The Flash #30, featuring Gorilla Grodd.  It’s one of the special MAD variant editions, and here’s a look-see at the preview…

Flash / Gorilla Grodd cover art for the MAD variant specials 2014.  Art by Anton Emdin, art direction by Sam Viviano.

I grabbed this video screenshot of MAD’s Sam Viviano with all 21 covers by ‘The Usual Gang of Idiots’: Al Jaffee, Tom Richmond, Hermann Mejia, Richard Williams, Mark Frerickson and more!  As you can see, Sam looks very excited about the project.

Sam Viviano MAD DC Comic covers

Here’s a quick overview of the process.  MAD’s art directors, Sam Viviano and Ryan Flanders sent over a brief and rough drawing for the art.  As it’s a homage to a classic MAD cover, it was fairly simple to envisage the final outcome.  Basically, I’d be drawing Gorilla Grodd (The Flash’s nemesis) as Alfred E. Neuman, swinging in a tyre that is inexplicably held up.

For me, it was only a question of whether I should try to replicate the style a little, or take a massive departure and do something different.  The MAD team left it with me, and I decided it would be fun to at least have a jab at doing it painterly.  I didn’t expect to get it anywhere near master-painter Norman Mingo, who drew the original MAD #134 cover (provided below, courtesy of Doug Gilford’s MAD Cover Site), but it’d be fun and perhaps work better as a parody.
MAD #134, Courtesy of Doug Gilford's MAD Cover Site.

Taking Sam’s initial rough (not pictured) I sketched and re-sketched, made revisions, and eventually came up with the one below – approved and ready to colour.

Sketch: Flash / Gorilla Grodd cover art for the MAD variant specials 2014.  Art by Anton Emdin, art direction by Sam Viviano.

I decided to try something new, and do an ink wash drawing as a base.  Actually, I’d used this a few weeks earlier on the Uncle Sam / Alfred piece, so I knew it had a shot of turning out ok.  I used a purple ink that I enjoy drawing with.  It’s nice and smooth and fairly light, so the paper texture shows through a bit.

(Obligatory inking shot #1)

Inking the Flash / Gorilla Grodd cover art for the MAD variant specials 2014.  Art by Anton Emdin, art direction by Sam Viviano.

(Obligatory inking shot #2)

Inking the Flash / Gorilla Grodd cover art for the MAD variant specials 2014. Art by Anton Emdin, art direction by Sam Viviano.

Here’s how the inks turned out:

Original inks: Flash / Gorilla Grodd cover art for the MAD variant specials 2014. Art by Anton Emdin, art direction by Sam Viviano.

After scanning, I painted over with colour digitally in semi-transparent layers, keeping as much of the original wash as I could to preserve the natural feel.

I expected the art department to crop out the bottom of the grass (see my sketch & layout above), but they must have liked the rougher edge, as it’s in the published layout (see first image).

Anyway, here’s how the finished art turn out…

Flash / Gorilla Grodd cover art for the MAD variant specials 2014. Art by Anton Emdin, art direction by Sam Viviano.

Thanks for stopping by!  You can see all the rest of the covers over at Tom Richmond’s excellent blog.

Anton! Signature by and © Anton Emdin 2012. All rights reserved.

3 Responses to “Gorilla Grodd Flash Cover”

  1. Ahh, Anton, you make it SOUND so easy!! Nice work!

  2. phil judd says:

    Hey Anton looks amazing! What size is the original and the final cover version? What sort of ink do you use for colour? It looks very opaque. Well done. Look forward to seeing it in print!

  3. antonemdin says:

    Thanks, guys!

    Phil — the original is drawn around A3 size, and the final cover is printed at roughly 7″ x 11″. ink is made by Sennelier: Neutral Tint 931. It has a nice loose quality, and works well with washes.

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