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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Interesing cover story...

I found a web page with some Anita Blake covers and sketches. The interesting thing is that some of this stuff was not released to the public. So I'm wondering where they got it from. I don't really care just my curiosity.

Anyways, when we first got the Anita Blake license those many years ago, I had done a bunch of sketches, we initially wanted to start with book 2, the first isn't as hard core Anita as I like, Laurell didn't really hit her stride until the end of the 2nd book in my opinion. This worked out a bit since these designs were still around to be used by Marvel for Laughing Corpse.

So the process starts with me doing sketches, these get approved or changes are made. This is the first Anita sketch I did. I didn't really like it it wasn't 'right'.

Anyways, I did 2 other sketches. the second was also wrong but I got it on the 3rd try. Marvel used that sketch for the cover of one of the trades... Thanks for showing me in best light with a sketch, the gun isn't even finished!

On to the cover for #1. With the design out of the way I was asked to do the first cover, I devised the idea to do simple character covers similar to the book covers, these would be done with 2 colors, black and blue or red. So I went to work... It took 3 days to get the first cover done, I couldn't get it the way I wanted it to be. But eventually things clicked and after spending about 4 hours on the last picture I was done... or so I thought. What you are familiar with is NOT the first draft, it's the second this is the original design:

Laurell didn't like the top, you see, I screwed myself with my own cleverness. Laurell loved the t-shirt design with the penguin on it on the first sketch (Anita has a large collection of stuffed penguins so I thought why not a shirt?) so I was asked to put the original shirt design on the cover. Which is what everyone is now familiar with:
I like, it it works, but now I'm stuck trying to create new t-shirt ideas for her to wear... Eventually I'll run out of monsters;) Seriously, I have Frankenstein, a Witch, a mummy, a Zombie,I think a Gillman and a Vampire... I need more monsters!

This is an image not really seen. Jess colored the covers as black and white and later added the colors you are familiar with. This is what the original cover looked like sans color:

There is also a JC one done like this.

The moral of the story? Don't try to be too clever, it will bite you on the ass!




Fatboy73 said...

A "Chupacabras'suck" T Shirt with old Chuppy holding a goat and a who me?look would be kinda funny. Just an Idea :D

Anonymous said...

Ahh yes, the Graham Cracker dead chicken cover which I inked and redrew Anita's face (and Penguin shirt) on and it got printed as a Brett Booth penciled sketch cover. My inks were pretty terrible, maybe it is better this way. Still it was my first work to appear on a Marvel cover, a little mention would have been nice.


Brett said...


All the monsters have to have a penguin twist of some kind. SO it's doubly hard:(


Marvel doesn't care about stuff like that. I didn't get paid for a cover for that, just for a sketch... but I don't think I even got that since it was just for a proposal at the time...

I just got a whopping $100 royalty payment for some X-men thing I did 10 years ago... I can now retire;)



Alexandra said...


I think all the version of Anita were wonderful. I really liked how you showed the progression/stages you had to go through. I hope that you one day show the JC version you were talking about :)


Brett said...

Hi Alexandra

Thanks, I figured it might helps some people understand what goes into these adaptions. Unfortunately I don't have the same thing with JC. There's an original sketch, that's somewhere, and then the cover to #2. He only took 2 tries. The first was the same thing with Anita just not right. Similar thing with Richard. I do have the original sketch of him, I'll have to post it.



Alexandra said...

Hi Brett,

If is is not to much trouble that would be wonderful :) I just love seeing the adaptations and different versions. Oh, I didn’t realize you had already drawn Richard (but that makes sense since he first appears in Circus of the Damned).

Thanks so much


^^W^^ said...