Hunter is a sporadic contributor to GonzoGeek with a budding stand-up career. Not too long ago he asked me to draw a poster for a running trivia/comedy show he does in his hometown and which he recently took on the road. I was happy to do it for him because I thought it would be a fun little romp. And it was. Last week, Hunter asked me to follow up with a brief blurb about creating the poster. for a compilation he's putting together. Since I haven't posted in a while, I thought I'd go for the two-fer.
Goddamn you Hunter Roberts!
When Hunter asks you to do a cover for one of his little ‘Wealth of Knowledge Man’ traveling sideshows he gives you two instructions:
1) “Man” is spelled with 5 As
2) Show off his little Buddha belly
And that’s it. Giving an artist almost total freedom is a mistake. Ideas don’t come tumbling out of our heads fully formed. No, they must be painstakingly drawn out then nailed to the page like Christ on the cross.
For this cover, I began with a ‘marginal sketch’, meaning that I drew it in the margins of a meeting agenda. Originally, it was a guy pointing a gun at my head. I liked the cut of his jib, so I drew him again, this time firing into space. New agenda item, new sketch. Now he was a spaceman shooting aliens. Hey…he kind of looks like Hunter. Get out the nails.
Usually, I work digitally. I scan a drawing into Photoshop or Illustrator and go from there. Instead of scanning the sketch into the computer for clean up, I decided to play around with art markers this time. I had been using them for a couple months and liked the results I was getting. Also, a hand colored drawing was going to be different from previous covers and I have always felt that Hunter was, you know, ‘different’ somehow.
I scanned my finished drawing and went about adding the background, masthead and lettering. I thought the drawing had a ‘pulpy’ feel to it and immediately thought ‘DOC SAVAGE’, which is strange because my drawing looks NOTHING like Doc Savage. After a couple of half-assed background attempts, I decided to skip it altogether. I’ll say that it was to focus more attention on WKM shooting his little laser pistol, but really, I’m just lazy. I looked for a Doc Savage font for the mastheads, but instead opted for “Arial Condensed” because the original title blocks were hand-drawn and I didn’t want to pay royalties for anything that looked similar (lazy and cheap). The rust and copper color-scheme, however, is pure theft. Add in an hour for additional rationalizations and tweak-time and Voila! What you see is what he got.
How’s that for a peek into the creative process?
If Hunter ever asks me to do another one, I think I’ll continue with the Doc Savage theme and draw him in jodhpurs. Maybe fighting space monsters with a babe under each arm. I don’t know. That sounds like a lot of work and I’m all out of nails.
BTW: Bobby Hill riding a flying turtle is my favorite cover of them all.