Artist feature. Ian Bristow talks about his cover for Who Pulled Her Out?

Who Pulled Her Out? The long anticipated sequel to Who Put Her in? Is finally with us. Yet another gorgeous cover from the hands of that true Renaissance Man Ian Bristow prompted a few more searching questions.
Q1. Are there specific challenges attached to producing the cover for a sequel?  

Absolutely there are. In the case of this series, I have had to think of how Joss (the MC on the cover) would look from more than one angle with more than one expression. That’s the difference between truly developing a knowledge of the character and their features and just painting something once and however it came out, it came out. Think of drawing even a basic face in profile, now I want you to draw the same face looking straight on. Have a go. It’s hard. All that said, there are elements that feel really good in creating a sequel cover, like already knowing the font and placements and working with ideas that fit those things on purpose. It’s a different sort of approach and I quite enjoy that aspect of it. 

Q2. You were asked for menacing figures in the background, which you have produced admirably. How did you make them look so dangerous?  

This is a great question. Posture, vagueness, masks—those three are the main focuses. You see a bit of intent in their posture, as if they mean to move toward you. You also see the vague hint of some kind of weapon in the hand of the man on the right, and that tells your brain they all have weapons. Then the masks top it off. We all associate armed, masked people with threat.  At the end of the day, artists take what they know about the physical world, cultural norms and the human condition and exploit them as best they can to ‘sell’ an image to the viewer. The better those elements are exploited, the better sold the image.

Q3. Our heroine has her back to a strong source of light. This could have rendered her no more than a silhouette. The subtle lighting of the face is brilliant. How did you manage to achieve such an effect?  

The first step was admitting that it was okay to add a non-visible light source to the image for the sole purpose of making sure the viewer could see Joss’ face. Once I accepted that it was needed, it was just a matter of choosing warm light to play off the cool blue in the background and painting it in with enough subtlety to keep from distracting from the overall effect of her being back lit. Mind, getting that subtlety was not an easy task, with the face so dark, even middle tones of colour felt BOLD! It took some time to make sure it was pushed back but still doing its job. 

If you would like to find out more about Ian Bristow's cover designing services, go to Bristow Design or look for Ian on his Website, check out his awesome timelapse art videos with his own original music on YouTube or follow him on Twitter.

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