Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cover Illustration for Weird Episodes From The Zero Hour

I had the privilege to work with Jason Butkowski and Anthony Schiavino for their pulp inspired anthology series, Episodes From The Zero Hour! They asked me to illustrate the cover of the next volume in the series, this one appropriately appended with "Weird..." into the title. 

This volume collects original stories of the strange, odd, creepy sort, and having gotten the chance to read most of the tales, I'm excited to own this in its final format. They're totally entertaining, and the best thing about pulp stories is their exploitation of the imagination.

Regarding the illustration, this one was a great challenge. Having only done one other pulp-inspired illustration, (Mike Oliveri's Winter Kill, available ON AMAZON), I wanted my second piece relating to the genre to be both just as good as my first, if not better, as well as in this anthology. The cover illustration for the first book, (available here), was done VERY NICELY by the mucho talented Douglas Klauba (, and he set a high bar for my reach.

Below are screenshots of my progress for the piece:

I started off with freedom. Nearly complete freedom. Anything that'd I'd like to do, so long as it had a 'weird' theme to it. After going through quite a few ideas unsuccessfully, I decided to delve a little deeper into the anthology for inspiration and further integration.

More than half of the stories featured unique eras or the traveling between such, so I chose that route for my concept. Since this is to be WEIRD, I figured I could get away with letting my tendency in life of being odd in my storytelling (or vague) to be a strength here.

I decided upon a thumbnail that included a typical pulp hero with a treasure/ item in one hand and standard sci-fi laser gun thing in the other, exotic lady princess from another time, and a neanderthal, all three escaping on the open seas from Vikings. A little weird.

My loose grayscale concept that I fleshed out after numerous thumbnails...

 After the grayscale sketch, i took to photoshop to play with some colors, and decided upon this scheme...

Felt too monotonous, and my clouds weren't popping like I hoped they might, so I done did this...

Mmmm. The Viking ship was fun...

...And the final designed layout for the cover...

 Overall, I'm pleased with it, will add it to the portfolio, and I'm psyched to help promote this piece. Jay and Anthony are great folks with good ideas, and have the experience to get it done right.

Stay tuned to Jay and Anthony's Episodes! site for more information on the upcoming release, including where you can purchase, and in what formats!


  1. congrats, good job.

    Just wondering, will you be at Balticon?

  2. Thanks, Tristan. Unfortunately, I'm going to say no to this year for Balticon. I'd like to go when I have more fantasy pieces to offer and display

  3. Thanks, Kati. It was a fun piece to do