By Jeff Lemire
Pornsak Pichetshote came on as editor of SWEET TOOTH with Issue 9. I had had the fortune of working with both Bob Shreck and Brandon Montclare before that, so I had been spoiled in the editor department. But Pornsak has more than been a great editor; he’s also one of my great friends now too.
One of our first conversations was in regards to the covers to SWEET TOOTH. Up to that point I was happy with my covers, but wanted to do more with them. I wanted to get more conceptual and at times surreal with them. Pornsak understood this and pushed me each month to go that extra step. Below is a step-by step account of how each cover in SWEET TOOTH Vol.2: IN CAPTIVITY was created, from earliest conceptual sketch to final inks and then colors.
But first a few side notes. First, Jose Villarubia is an incredible collaborator. He takes my art and elevates it to a whole new level. Nowhere is this more evident than his work on the covers for SWEET TOOTH. Maybe more than any other colorist in the industry Jose takes chances with his color choices. At time they can be bold and surprising, but more often than not they work. Take for example the bright yellow background of Cover 7. I originally saw the background as a grey cloudy sky. I was surprised and a bit shocked when the lemon yellow version popped up in my inbox. But after a few minutes of looking at it with a frown on my face I realized how much it popped. It just caught the eye. That cover went on to be one of the most iconic of the series so far, and even became the cover of the trade paperback. I truly feel it’s success was due to Jose taking a chance with his color choices.
Another interesting note about this cover art is where the original art ends up sometimes. A few art collectors coveted the cover mentioned above, but I held onto it for a while, not ready to part with it. And I was glad I did, because at the San Diego Comicon this year I ended up trading it with Rafael Albuquerque for his iconic cover art for Superboy #1! In a similar swap, I gave the cover to #11 (the creepy ultrasound image) to Matt Kindt in exchange for a few pages from his awesome book 3 Story!
Now onto the cover art…