When John Carter told me he had an idea for the next cover in his Eli Arnold series, I said, “Okay. What is it?”
And then he told me he wanted me to draw Nikola Tesla.
And Tesla was the villain.
As you might have seen in my previous cover work for John Carter, my illustrative style is nowhere near realistic. Oh, I’ve tried. But something about me putting realistic proportions and look and shading to a person I have sketched just gets nowhere. So I had to think of not only how was I going to take Tesla and still have him look like Tesla in my style, but I had to figure out how to create Tesla in a way that would make him look villainous.
I got the idea to turn him into lightning from one of the graphic novel covers to Percy Jackson. It just seemed really fitting to have the trio of characters looking super heroic with the villain looking, well, villainous.
There was a small bit of back-and-forth on colors and placement, but this cover was mostly me really testing out special effects (despite my experience in graphic design, I’ve never really used a lot of bright light effects) and how to make Tesla look like lightning while not looking like lightning at the same time. Also: lots of happy trees courtesy of binge-watching Bob Ross.