Blog posted by Ste Pickford on Sun, 09 Nov 2014
Subject: Plok comic strip
My scrappy thumbnail layout sketches for cover ideas.
Right away I knew I wanted the cover to be based on Plok exploding, from episodes 39 / 40, which would be right in the middle of Volume 2. Initially I didn't want to duplicate the mid-air view from episode 40, so I tried a few layouts that were side-on, showing bits of Plok in the air, and maybe one of the other characters (Xbone in the middle sketch) right up close. I even tried a jaunty diagonal horizon, but the main problem was that all of these ideas would inevitably have a blue sky filling the top half of the page, and I just thought it was going to look too similar to the cover of Volume 1 at a casual glance, or at thumbnail size. I wanted Volume 2's cover to look radically different.
Discussing this with John, he came up with the idea of looking down from mid-air, so although it's kind of a duplicate of the mid-air view from episode 40, it's looking down rather than towards the horizon, so therefore won't have the blue sky background.
I wasn't sure how I'd be able to draw a massive expanse of ground, and I think it was John's suggestion to draw lots of precise detail, like Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira comics (which we're both big fans of). Of course I can't draw anything like as good as Otomo, but it was a good angle to go for.
I tried a couple of quick sketches at the bottom, which seemed OK, and the long shadows seemed to work.
In the top right you can see my little workings-out of aspect ratios, as the size of the eBook version of the cover (iPad dimensions of 768 x 1024 or 0.75 to 1 ratio) is slightly different to the closest matching printed book size (7 inch x 10 inch, or 0.7 to 1 ratio). I got into a mess with this for the cover of volume 1, so wanted to make sure I had the correct bleed and layout markings for both cover sizes before I started drawing.
» Plok comic strip episode #40, in case you can't remember it