Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 231

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Guardians of the Galaxy #5 Variant Cover. 2013.
Ink(ed by Joe Rivera) on bristol board with digital color, 11 × 17″.

My profession is usually pretty darn cool, but sometimes... it gets even better. My editor, Stephen Wacker, came to me with the idea and I jumped at the chance. This is the first of 3 Guardians variants based on old-school sci-fi covers, primarily by the inimitable-but-I'll-try-anyway Wallace Wood. The issue should be out in stores today! (Preview here.)

While I've only got 3 examples of Wood's art here, there's a ton more that I used as inspiration, both for this as well as the next 2 covers. Whether you're familiar with his work or not, it'll be worth checking out James Halperin's site for great scans of the originals.

More classic covers here.

inks by my Dad
blue-line print of pencils

pencils over digital sketch
digital sketch

digital layout

I hope Rocket Raccoon can hold his breath!


  1. So I've recently taken a liking for comic art and the visual story-telling process besides what I usually obsess over like realism and things of that nature because I want to be able to document the going-ons in my own life. My question to you is: although doing research is obviously necessary for a design to work- character style etc…- how would you suggest a newbie like me go about starting off my own narrative? I don't have a style or drawing per-say. So Should I just start with basic character study? I'm basically clueless.

  2. Character studies are usually the best way to get started. You'll need to know what your characters look like from every angle, but you don't have to be as formal as front, back, and side views. Try doing some head studies where you explore both the look of your character as well as their expressions. And don't be afraid of realism, either. You can always dial back the detail once you're comfortable with the overall look. What you're looking for is a visual shorthand that comes naturally — the only way to do that is trial and error.


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Design out of the FlyBird's Box.