2016 Mountain Xpress Halloween Cover

For the third year (not in a row) I’ve been commissioned to come up with a Halloween themed cover design for the local Asheville alt weekly paper, The Mountain Xpress.

2016 Halloween cover for Mountain Xpress by Brent Brown

2016 Halloween cover for Mountain Xpress by Brent Brown

This year I was asked to do something with local architectural elements, such as the winged lions (I’ve been told they are not griffins, as they do not have the head of an eagle, just the body of a lion, with wings, but then again, I’ve read they could be either) at the Grove Arcade building. I toyed with a few ideas and we narrowed it down to just the lion statues at the Grove Arcade.

mxcoverhalloween-2016-rough3 mxcoverhalloween-2016-rough mxcoverhalloween-2016-rough2 mxcoverhalloween-2016-rough1 grovearcadedrawings

I thought that was a cool thing to play with, so I looked the historic structure up on Google Street View to get a straight-ahead view of it, then took it into a vector program and made a simple vector-art version of it that I could then distort into an extreme, bug’s-eye view perspective to add some dramatic flair to it. I then used the handy 3-D artist’s model bodies in Manga Studio (now called Clip Studio Paint for some reason) to get the correct perspective and anatomy for the hipster-clown the animated architectural animals would be attacking on All Hallow’s Eve.

The gryphons/lions I had to just create from a reference photo and so their perspective is not as extreme, since I wanted to keep them recognizable in their newly-animated, attack versions and I also had to kind of figure out their perspective on my own.

Then, it was just a matter of drawing the correct details on the reference model, arranging it with the lions I drew, rendering out lighting and shade and details on the Arcade and generally improving the whole composition, while leaving space for the heads and subheads that were to come in later.

The previous covers combined Halloween with the election, since they fell so close to the same time that year. That was fun, but also hard to come up with anything new that hasn’t already been done before since the last day in October and the first Tuesday in November are always in close approximation each year and it’s a visually and satirically temptation to want to somehow link the two. I was glad I didn’t have to do that this year, as I had already used up all my ideas previously.

2012 Halloween cover for Mountain Xpress by Brent Brown

2013 Halloween cover for Mountain Xpress by Brent Brown

2012 Halloween cover for Mountain Xpress by Brent Brown

2012 Halloween cover for Mountain Xpress by Brent Brown

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