Slow ‘n’ steady wins the race
Stephan’s cover for Michael R Underwood’s Shield and Crocus reveals another side to the artist… “This is one of my most recent book covers. A digital painting like this enables me to let go of the precision I apply in drawings or paintings when I produce concepts for film or games. A book cover is a very narrative and personal process.
“I do a quick sketch to get the main composition in place and then let the painting process slowly dictate the outcome. It’s an organic process. I let myself be surprised as I layer different colour washes and references, and use different filters in Photoshop. I’m able to think in a more abstract and graphic way, and somehow it feels like a natural artistic progression.
“It’s interesting because I never actively sought out a career in the book cover industry. I saw it as more of a fun thing I’d like to do one day. Embracing digital enabled me to develop a career in film and theme park design, and that’s the work I was doing when I got into the book cover industry. It’s by producing covers that I found my unique artistic voice as a painter.” remember why he picked up that first pencil to make a mark back in the Grenoble tenements? “That’s a giant question! That’s like asking why the first caveman drew! I don’t know.
“Maybe it’s something instinctual that some people have more than others. It’s a drive, it’s natural. It’s a way to express something. I think everyone has that desire to some degree. Some people are just better at it, or have better opportunities to explore it. It’s a big unknown. Maybe it was my fairy godmother above my cradle who said, ‘ You will be an artist.’ Actually, I like that answer better!”
Stephan epic cover art for Shield and Crocus depicts a city built among the bones of a long-dead titan.