I had the great pleasure of working on the cover for the reworking of the classic DnD adventure 'Tomb of Horrors'. The brief requested that I use some of the key elements from the adventure in the following way:
This cover has the look and feel of a movie poster and features a montage of images.
The most prominent image is that of AN EVIL-LOOKING HUMAN SKULL with rubies set into its eyes
and gems for teeth. This is ACERERAK, the demilich. We might see the faint glimmer of a spirit
trapped in each of the skull’s faceted gemstones. The skull fades or blends into the images of (1) an
8-foot-tall FOUR-ARMED GARGOYLE and (2) the iconic DEVIL FACE that appears in the Tomb of
Horrors (see attached reference). The mouth of the devil face is a void of utter darkness. Inside the
mouth of the devil face, falling away from us and screaming, is a MALE HUMAN PALADIN in PLATE
ARMOR and carrying a LONGSWORD and SHIELD.
The first step was to create series of thumbnail sketches. These are intended to explore ideas of composition, and allows discussion with the art director of the direction we would both like to take.
Some of the thumbnails I explored further digitally. This allowed me easily maintain certain ,and either move them around or mix them with other features. I also added greyscale values to them which helps with some clarity, whilst also generating fresh ideas this way as it enabled an easier way of showing the demi-lich skull in the background.
You can see which one was decided to work up into the cover itself, and that can be seen, wit hfull trade dress here:
Lastly here is a close-up of one of the eyeballs