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Helen Capewell
OCA Learning Log
Student Number: 522802
Degree: Illustration
Current Level: 2

Assignment 4

Cover Versions

For this assignment I decided to take a look back at the superhero exercise. Having a character base already existing, it seemed logical to expand on this by developing a cover for the character. I began by researching superhero covers, simply browsing the many images available online, pulling out the ones that caught my eye for style, layout and content.

I may or may not have said this before about superhero comics, but I will go ahead and say it again. I do appreciate the art of these comics. They stlye is very detailed yet they are not at the same time. Human anatomy is of our world, they are not warped into a surrealist reality. Faces are often plain, which often follow the same structure across all characters with just minor details to diferentiate them. The poses, either on cover or in the pages, look as though they could be pulled from a library as these too look similar in some way or another. I guess their similarities in many cases are why I struggle to know the difference between different artists, though this is also based on a lack of attention to the details that artists may be known for.

Despite my appreciation, I had never really gotten too close to them. Of course I have seen them in comic shops, and many times have I seen the artworks on the interenet. I even had access to an abundant of Marvel commercial graphics due to a job I had several years ago. I find them very cool, but perhaps the distance remains because I don't feel knowledgable. I don't know the difference of good and bad, I don't who created what or what ones I should be looking at. I don't really know which are the new ones and which are the classics. It's intimidating as I feel people have grown up reading them, and if you haven't then how to start now that there are so many comics available! The fact is, although I may not know an awful lot about them or the stories, I think this is a great opportunity to try and create a superhero comic cover. Where and when will I ever get to do this again, and for it to be so free.

The images I collected felt retro. I don't know who created them, but I felt there was something in each cover that brought a variety to the table. I was keen to include the action comics, which feels to be an epic battle either against a machine or the enemy. It is interesting how the covers often depict the hero being the weaker opponent, either struggling or even being beaten (Daredevil cover above for example). These covers that are more action focused with more background illustrations suggest possible narration to the front page, as if preparing the reader for what hardship lies ahead within the pages. I wonder if there is design choices within those narration pages, and whether they have an effect on sales if they are more action packed, compared to those that are more simple.

Other aspects of the covers that I also enjoy are those that are slightly more graphic in their design, i.e with the colour blocking and layout, noticeable in the Batman covers I have included. Another element I quite enjoy on the covers is the typography, which is often bold and simple in it's style. these were all points I wanted to think about when sketching concepts for my own cover.

I wasn't sure in which direction I wanted to go in but if I was going to attempt a superhero comic, I think I wanted to try my hand at creating an action packed cover that suggests narration. Would there be sign of weakness, that the enemy is actually stronger than my hero? Only for the story to be even more predictable in its ending, yet challenging on how it might arrive to that hero end.

If I were to go in this direction, I needed an enemy that would be a potential threat to my hero. Thinking of opposites, I thought about what would be negative for "sound healing". Chemicals, or electric, perhaps just nuclear energy I believe would make for interesting weaknesses to the sound healing. Given that gong is vibration that heals the blockages one might have within their bodies, chemicals or electric devices are usually the culprites to creating those blockages.

Putting these thoughts into action, I started sketching small thumbnails of different ideas.

After creating very small thumbnail sketches, I chose a couple I thought would be interesting to progress. I was enjoying the idea of being boxed in by very powerful electrical energy, using todays newest upgrade, 5G as inspiration... not that I can be sure what they look like! I also liked the idea of being tangled in what could be cables or tenticles. I turned the page of the sketchbook and worked a little bigger.

Just to give more options, I decided to have a go at sketching different poses. I was looking for more of an epic stance, that showered power in the character yet struggle in a possible fight. So far I had looked at only showing a weakness in the character, thinking this might have been a common image for a cover of a superhero comic. The thinking being that it would possibly not give the impression of a predictable story?

I really liked the pose on the left of the above sketchbook spread, I felt there was something to work with here and so left the skething there and moved over to the computer.

In the previous exercise where we created the superhero, I had already come up with a name; Vibraso. Which was basically Vibration Sound shortened and combined. It seemed to soud good in my head and now that I have made it this far, I stuck with it. The next step I wanted to work on was a title. For me this came pretty quickly. I had used Spider-Man as inspiration here and tried to recreate something similar with Vibraso. It took one attempt to achieve what I had, and sadly I did not record the process. I also jumped ahead in creating a secondary image which contained a close up of the character and some comic info that would be similar to a Marvel comic. My aim here was to mimic a classic comic, and making it appear ready for retail.

With those prepared, I looked at the different poses I had sketched and place them in front of the text as a rough mock-up to see which I preferred to progress.

I was definitely leaning towards the bottom illustration, it still felt to tick the boxes I was wanting to achieve. To make sense of the sketch, I made a slightly cleaner version on Photoshop which would go on to be the begininng of my final render.

The next stage took another major leap forward as I failed to record the stages during outling and colour in Photoshop. It also felt off balance slightly how I had originally placed her with the text (above), the image felt too heavy on the left which, in my opinion, needed breaking up.

This was where I had gotten, and so far felt really positive with the direction. Only now I had to think of a background, and consider the final layout of the overall cover. Still liking the idea of being surrounded by elextric panels that are effecting her powers, I opted to bring that in, hoping it would narration to the subject.

I was feeling very good about this idea, but perhaps it was feeling a bit busy? I wanted to push the background back and create more energy. A trick I had learnt was adding motion blur to illustrations, something I had used in a previous assignment. I thought it would add depth to the image and interest, I think it would also appear to create more struggle for the hero, which would match her expression and pose.

This became the final illustration, which honestly I'm pretty pleased of. It flowed so nicely to reach this stage without any struggles or obsticles. There would be so many other versions I could work on for this assignment, with so many different ways to tell a story, but this one feels right. I think it could lead to an interesting comic, and hopefully one that would be appealing.

Now it was time to put everything together, the result being:

Not finished yet! My next move was adding an effect. I wanted the comic to look printed, and a little bit vintage. I added noise and bumped the saturation and contrast.

I really enjoy adding the little details so that it gives the impression of a real published comic. Caped Comics is based on my surname, Capewell, a cape of course being perfect for this subject. Yogiverse, is a spin on Marvel Universe; Multiverse. Yogi is someone who practices Yoga, however I decided Yogi would suit the sound healing realm as well, given that it is somewhat a lifestyle as well as simply yoga.

Overall, I am really pleased with the result. It was fun to create and I would definitely do it again! Perhaps I am onto something with my own character here!

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