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 www.manticgames.com