Deadzone Cover Step-by-Step

When Mantic Games asked me to do the cover for Deadzone, I was unfamiliar with the game or their sci-fi universe. They provided me with plenty of reference material and direction so I could capture the look and atmosphere of the game. Here's a step-by-step walkthough.

My instructions were to create a battle scene between the Forge Fathers and Enforcers on a colony planet. I had to follow the miniature designs they provided, and the building architecture had to look like the modular playing pieces in the game. This art was to be printed on both a square box art and a book cover, so I was warned that the sides might be cropped off for the book. This is the initial sketch that I submitted. The top is intentionally left with dead space so the graphic designer can add the game title.



I was asked to make some changes, notably the removal of one of the Forge Fathers at the bottom and moving the Enforcer next to the Captain so he is now flying up behind him.


Here's the first pass at the tight drawing. I decided to swing back the arm of the Captain, but the art director asked me to put it back in the position I originally had it.

Here's the revised tight drawing. I changed the platform that the Captain was standing on to shipping crates, in order to differentiate it from the short foreground wall and create depth.



Time to start the color! I decided I wanted a dreary, greenish palette for the background because war isn't fun & cheery.


Here I started rendering the building structures, working background to foreground.


Paying close attention to the reference material, I complete the building structures. It was very important to Mantic that all of the elements resembled their game pieces.


Here we are approching completion. At this stage Mantic asked for some slight tweaks to reposition a few elements. Since I'm doing this digitally, such requests can be done much easier than if I were painting with traditional media.


And Done! You can check out Deadzone at



Working Relationships Work Both Ways

Freelancers- Back when I was doing a lot of art for small game companies, I occasionally had to deal with an art director treating me like a servant at their beck and call, or not being honest about late payment, or some other act of unprofessionalism.My attitude was always “I don’t need this guy. I’ll still be working long after he’s been fired or his little company goes out of business.” That type of faith in myself has served me well.Many years later, most of those little companies are gone, and the people working for them are doing something else. I’m still here, making it happen. I appreciate art directors that appreciate what I do for them. I’ve pulled numerous all-nighters and worked on vacation or holidays for ADs that understand that sacrifice and show loyalty in return. I used to work with a guy that often told me “Scott, you make me look good.” I appreciated that a lot. He gave me a lot of work. I appreciated that even more. We’re all working our asses off. But if you’re going to kill yourself to make unrealistic deadlines, do it for someone who knows you’re making them look good. Don’t let yourself be taken advantage of by unprofessional jerks. If you find a good AD that appreciates you- don’t screw that up. Build working relationships with good people, and you can be successful. There’s a lot of good people in the business. Find them and work with them.
That’s a career building tip from Uncle Scott. Good luck, kid. ;)



This is my new cover the the miniatures game Deadzone by Mantic Games. It will be printed as a square box cover and also cropped to be printed as a book cover. Click on the image for a larger view!



Amazing Spider-Man 2

This is a drawing I did for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie licensing art, but I wasn't able to do the finished color rendering because Marvel needed me to start working on Guardians of the Galaxy artwork. So we brought in artist and friend Tyler Walpole to help. I think he did a finished color version based on my drawing.


Insanity of an Artist

[Voice in Head #1] “The job is finished, turned in, and approved. Don’t make that correction. It will take you an hour.”
[Voice in Head #2] “But we can make it better!”
[Voice in Head #1] “It’s going to be published the other way anyway.”
[Voice in Head #2] “But we can make it better!”
[Voice in Head #1] “Even if you post it online, nobody in the world will notice the difference.”
[Voice in Head #2] “But we’ll notice. We’ll know.”

Scott makes the correction