Cover Story: Cooke & Peterson on The Resistance Cover

Cover Story: The Resistance Cover

The Resistance TPB, due in April from IDW

The Resistance was a somewhat short lived science fiction series Justin Gray and I worked on for Wildstorm comics that was described by others as part cyberpunk thrill ride and part dystopian fantasy. It ran for eight issues total and covered more ground than any other series I have worked on since. It had its diehard fans…not enough to keep the book going, but enough that there is hardly a con I go to where people don’t bring me the entire run to sign or talk about the book. The artwork was the main feature for me personally, beautifully rendered by Juan Santacruz who was new to American audiences at the time. He did some truly groundbreaking work here. DC Comics was kind enough to give us the rights back to the series and we did a deal with our friends at IDW to collect the books for the first time into a beautiful square bound trade book featured in this month’s Previews .

For those who never read the series, Justin explains the series best “it's New York in the year 2280, "Manhattan, as you know it, is underwater. The government, to maintain a balance between population and food supplies, regulates childbirth. Those born illegally are hunted down and killed by lifeless machines programmed to perform the dirty work of their makers. The media embraces this law. The people embrace this law. The only opposition comes from those same children whose lives are forfeit the moment they exist. What were once deadly street gangs have now evolved into revolutionaries fighting for the basic human right to survive. A majority of mainstream comics have the hero or heroes that come along to wipe our tears and tell us it's going to be ok. In The Resistance people have to save themselves, it's that simple. The lines between right and wrong are blurred, the relationships are based on reality, and the situations are similar to what happens here and abroad. Visually you're going to be blown away, we've got a nice slick candy coating covering some thought provoking ideas. Resistance is a political satire dressed up as a popcorn movie with all the trimmings.”

So, knowing the collection was going to be aiming at an American audience, we enlisted our good friend Darwyn Cooke to illustrate a cover for the trade and I took it upon myself to offer my skills as inker and then proceeded to bribe Brandon Peterson to color it. For anyone that is interested in the process of putting together a cover, I sure hope you enjoy what we are presenting here. First up…the man himself, Darwyn Cooke.

Darwyn Cooke: This was easy to do, as it came together during a vacation visit (one of many made by Marsha and myself) to Amanda and Jimmy's swingin' homestead in Florida. Jimmy, Brandon and I hang out a bit down here so it sounded like fun to put something together. Jimmy thumbnailed the type of thing he wanted and I got to it. There's a certain challenge to this type of cover because your job is to capture the characters that a fellow artist has already defined and made his own. In this case it was fairly simple because despite the rich detail that pencil brought to the world of the Resistance his characters have iconic designs that reflect classic cartooning.

Brandon Peterson: Darwyn and Jimmy have given me an easy piece to work with as so much is open and yet the light sources are clearly indicated and the shadows are consistent and logical. That'll make my job pretty easy.

I usually start by just sort of loosely blocking in the local colors into the piece with simple digital brushstrokes. The local colors are the colors without any light or shadow really affecting them, so grass is green, sky is blue, etc. I then begin to add highlights and shadows, modeling things very simply to get an idea of how things will balance out and what is working and what needs help.


I then usually work from background to foreground, which helps keep things in balance in terms of color and tone. It's tempting to jump right into the fun foreground stuff, but lots of times I find when I get to the background after doing that, I will need to change all my foreground stuff to make the piece work, so I just have to redo a bunch of work. I started with the city and moved into the background characters.

I then moved into rendering the middle ground figures, and saw what may be a problem with the girl in the center of the piece. She may be too bright, but I decided to see how stuff turned out. I turn off the line art sometimes to see how the colors balance and work without it, and it looks OK.

As I begin to finish up the piece, I really have problems with that center girl being too bright, so I darken her up and everything falls into place. I apply a few little digital effects to enhance the digital brushstrokes and the piece is ready for Darwyn and Jimmy to give me their feedback, which in this case was that they were happy with it as is.


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