This week I finished one of my “Covers to comic books that don’t exist.” That’s a series of ink and marker drawings that I’ve been working on for a long time. I like comic book covers in general so I draw my own even though they have no comic books to go with them. The piece is “Dreams of Things” number 191.

Back when I started drawing my covers I had a bunch of different series that I would draw. I had “Deep Space,” “The Acid Ram,”High Tension Adventures,”Hypno-Love Girls,”Retro Futurist,” and a bunch of others. I did a handful of them all and switched between then to work on which ever I felt like at the time.

All of these covers were a lot of work to do so originally “Dreams of Things” was supposed to be less work. The concept was to come up with a single dream like image and build a cover around it. You can see that in the early covers in this series. The problem with that approach was that simple is not always easier than complex. It’s often harder to distill a single image down into its most basic form and still keep it interesting than it is to add complexity to it. So I found myself spending a lot of time on these simple images.

As I was already spending a lot of time on my “Dreams of Things” covers that lead to them getting more complex over the years. I kept adding one more thing to them. Number 191 has a really complicated geometric pattern in the background that’s full of patterns and colors. That type of drawing isn’t found in the early ones.

This past winter and spring I also bought a whole bunch of new markers. Not that I didn’t have about a hundred colors to choose from before then but I added another forty colors to the mix. That changed the color palette I was working with and the latest ones have gotten even more saturated with color in combinations that are new. They do look different.

The pencilling stage of these covers has changed over the years. In the beginning I used to pencil the pages at the same size that I did the finished ink and marker. Eleven by seventeen inches. First I’d pick one of my thumbnail drawings from my inkbook, then I’d do a rough drawing at six by nine inches, finally I’d blow up that rough drawing to eleven by seventeen inches and make a finished drawing.

At some point in time I decided to work smaller with the pencil drawing and only blew it up to nine by twelve inches. Then at some time after that I decided instead of a rough drawing at six by nine inches I’d make the finished drawing that size. It’s a little bit odd that as the drawings got more complex I made them smaller.

The drawings still get blown up to their final eleven by seventeen inch size so sometimes that leaves me a little bit of drawing work to do in the final inking stage. Usually that’s in the smaller faces. When a face goes for a half an inch high to an inch and a half high it has to be redrawn. That’s okay though. I expect it and can take care of it in the inking stage. The six by nine inch drawings have served me well in recent years. Maybe because the size helps simplify the complexity.

The first of my “Dreams of Things” covers that I finished was on January 22, 2016. As it’s June 11, 2023 as I write this that means that I’ve been working on this series for over seven years. That’s quite a long time. It’s also a little strange that all my other cover series fell by the wayside as at a certain point I only worked on my “Dreams of Things” series. It wasn’t a conscious decision but just sort of happened. I don’t think I drew more than ten covers of any other series.

I’ve been getting one a week of these “Dreams of Things” covers done for most of this year. That means that I’m just a couple of months or so away from getting issue two hundred finished. That’s a big number. I want to do something special for that one but I’m not quite sure what. I might have the beginning of an idea though.

I show off my in progress shots of these covers on my Patreon and I also show a finished cover on my weekly YouTube comic book haul video. On one of the YouTube shows I mentioned I was coming up on issue two hundred and on a whim I said I should use two hundred different color markers on that cover. That got me thinking.

One of the things I really like to draw is faces. Usually one face per drawing but I’ve also made these drawings that are nothing but faces. Twenty, thirty, or forty face all bunched together to make up a drawing. I think I even made one on a comic book sketch cover before. I think I can take that idea and use it for issue two hundred.

I already have pencil drawings through issue one ninety seven done so it’s almost time to draw issue two hundred. I’m also thinking about making it a wrap around cover but as I’m writing this I’m coming up with another idea. I can make it three connecting covers that somehow incorporate the numbers 2-0-0 into the mass of faces drawn on them. See, I’ve already figured out how to triple my work! (Why do I do that to myself?)

I recently put all of my “Dreams of Things” covers into eleven by seventeen inch portfolio books. Before then they were all in a pile and were hard to thumb through. As I put them in books and watched the years pass by as I looked at the dates on them I also noticed themes. I go though periods of big faces, landscapes, figure interactions, and whatever else. I never noticed these themes as I did them. It’s interesting to see new things in them. After I finish issue 200 I’m going to take some time to contemplate them. I’ll let you know what I see.