Panini Wolverine & Deadpool covers.
So I mentioned in my last post that this entry was going to be about 1970's montage movie posters... well it is, & it isn't. What I'm showing is a couple of trade paperback covers I did for Panini last year, one for a Wolverine collectuion, one for a Deadpool collection. Since both covers were for books featuring half a dozen unconnected stories, there was a LOT of characters which needed fitting onto the cover art. To my mind, the way this has always been done best is in those montage movie posters I mentioned which were at their peak in the 1970's. This is a style of composition I've used before, most notably on the two covers I did for Marvels 'Atlas of the Marvel Universe' books a few years ago.
Anyway, to the first one of the covers. As you can see there was lots of subsidiary characters that had to be put on the cover in addition to the obligatory 'hero' shot of Wolverine. The only real thing of note in the pencil, is that you will notice I left Logan's claws out at this point, I always knew they were going to be there, & that I wolud add them at the end.
With the Deadpool cover, I was playing around with various idea's for the main character pose..(there's only so many ways you can draw 'character leaping out at the camera' so may times before you get mind-locked) & getting nowhere. When this happens, I take a piece of paper & just fill it with lots & lots of stick figure pose ideas, hoping that one will spark my interest. When one does, I develop that into a more finished sketch. I then scan it into the computer, enlarge it in Photoshop print it out. This was the pose that appealed to me on this project.
Then it was just a matter of fitting in all the rest of the characters, but all the while trying to not make the composition look jumbled or cramped. This was done at a similar to print scale.. so it was easier to take in the whole composition at one glance as I refined it. Once the layout had been approved I again scanned this into the computer & printed it out at the correct size, then using a lightbox, transfered it onto the artboard adding tone & details as I went.
Sometimes I do this stage in ink, treating the layout as the pencil stage, sometimes, like here, I develop a more finished pencil stage first, just to iron out any problems I may feel are happening. Once that was completed, I went ahead with the inks.
With both of these pieces, the trick to a successful cover image in this style lies in the basic composition. With a cover image featuring ten or more characters it would be dead easy to make the image look disjointed & unreadable. This is where (I feel) the beauty of the montage style comes into it's own. It gives the artist the freedom to play with scale. The classic trick is to have one character fill the 'Darth Vader role', which is to say, a large looming presence which oversees the rest of the group, & the main character playing 'Luke Skywalker' (look at the Star Wars poster here to see what I mean).
So , enough of all that bollocks, time to sit back & enjoy some of my favorite examples of the kind of movie poster which influence this style of composition. Honestly, I could do a whole blog about these, I just love the style. It's nice to be give the opportunity to pay homage occasionally in some of the artwork I do.