Next week will be big for Thief of Thieves artist Shawn Martinbrough on two fronts, as not only does Thief of Thieves #26 go on sale Feb. 25, but on the following day he'll discuss his career and his noir-influenced approach to storytelling as part of the Society of Illustrators’ celebration of Black History Month. He'll be joined in the conversation by comics writer and historian Danny Fingeroth.
In conjunction with the release of Thief of Thieves #26, ROBOT 6 asked Martinbrough to rank his 10 favorite covers, and reveal a bit about the creative process for each one:
"I have to say upfront that I'm my own worst critic. The following 10 covers of Thief of Thieves are ones that I'm reasonably satisfied with. As an artist, there are always things that you would love to improve on but once in a blue moon, you can surprise yourself and think, 'That's OK.'
"I also chose these particular 10 covers because they represent a diverse cross section of images from the various story arcs of Thief of Thieves. In many cases, the covers are linked by theme. Some concepts were inspired by previous approaches to designing the covers and others were dictated by the direction of the story.
"Here's a glimpse into the creative process of designing the covers to Thief of Thieves ..."
Thief of Thieves #1
"The cover design for Issue 1, which was written by Robert Kirkman and Nick Spencer, was suggested by Kirkman. He sent me the following sketch which I thought was just so cool and an interesting design."
"In an effort to create separation between Conrad's and the figures in the painting, I used a contour line approach for the interior image and contrasted that with a dramatic lighting approach for Conrad himself. To make the Conrad 'master thief' character seem very mysterious and ominous, I opted not to show his face in the main figure but give the reader a glimpse of it in the painting. I also tried to convey that the Conrad holding the painting and Conrad in the painting with a happy family might be the same man but are in two different mental places. Felix Serrano did the coloring and created a ton of depth with the background element. I love his handling of the figures in the frame."
"This first cover was also the start of my battle of designing images that worked with the bold Thief of Thieves logo!"
Thief of Thieves #2
"The cover to Issue 2 was my stab at echoing a standard movie poster image which is two full figures coming at the reader in a bold way."
"The first cover featured a static, single figure so I wanted to contrast that with an image that had movement and a number of different elements at play. Notice that once again, Conrad's face is covered in contrast to his partner, who is introduced in this issue. Felix Serrano did an amazing job with the coloring here. As with issue #1, there were multiple printings so Felix created at least five or six different color palettes for this cover."