'Jenn Droid: Uncanny Valley' Cover

A few months back, while I was in the process of designing the title for Rob Imbs’ upcoming film Game Changers, he asked me if I could come up with some Jenn Droid materials for him to use in the film. I only had a couple sketches and the logo kicking around at that point, but I was pumped at the prospect of having some of my work appearing in the movie.

Rob left the direction of the design completely up to me. It was truly wide open. It may seem counterintuitive, but this often proves to be a quite paralyzing. Setting limitations on a design is very important from the get-go, without constraints things can go ‘off the rails’ pretty quickly. Approaching design in this way really helps me to focus on the process and develop a more clear vision of the desired outcome.

I made a series of limiting design decisions before I started any real work.

The first of which was to limit the color palette; aside from the black and white line work, I decided on using only hot pink and purple. In imagining Jenn Droid, these were the two colors that always stood out to me. Sticking with my original vision saved me from steering too far off course when I got into the thick of it.

Jenn Droid T-Shirt

Jenn Droid T-Shirt

Secondly, we had already created a Jenn Droid logo t-shirt to be worn in the film, so it made sense to take the opportunity to focus more on the illustration and less on the logo for the cover design. This allowed me to drop any competition between the title logo and the artwork within the cover’s layout.

I also elected to give the cover design a starker look and feel than I might have in a different scenario. Since the cover will only be on-screen for a few short seconds, any work I put into heavy detail or weathering would be lost on camera. Additionally, I realized the backdrop of the comic shop would be cluttered with hundreds of images and colors, so having a distinctly white cover would help it stand out in direct contrast to the environment.

J.C. Leyendecker Cupid's Kiss

J.C. Leyendecker ‘Cupid’s Kiss’

The last decision I made before I hit the drawing table was the cover’s composition. I wanted to give a nod to the great J.C. Leyendecker by borrowing from his 1923 painting, Cupid’s Kiss. That particular illustration has always struck a chord with me and I wanted to reference it in some way.

I had already envisioned the symbolism inherent in Jenn Droid holding a human skull, so it was a simple matter of merging the image in my head with the pose of the girl in Leyendecker’s painting. Combining the two produced the desired result of creating an homage instead of a direct copy.

The muted color palette I had chosen precluded me from capturing the level of the depth and detail that Leyendecker was truly a master of, but it was a fun process all the same. Different mediums produce different results.

If you’re curious about the book title I chose, Uncanny Valley, you can read about its meaning here.

Jenn Droid Original Sketch

• Original, Rough Sketch

Jenn Droid Face Detail

Jenn Droid Face Detail

Skull Detail

Skull Detail

Fully Selected in Adobe Illustrator

Fully Selected in Adobe Illustrator

Jenn Droid Finished Mock-up

Jenn Droid Finished Mock-up

Jenn Droid Finished Mock-up

After the design was printed, we trimmed and folded it over a hardcover copy of Mark Millar’s and John Romita Jr.’s Kick Ass. Man, that looks official!

I was on-hand yesterday as Rob and his crew shot the scene at our local comic book destination, Queen City Book Store. Everything went smoothly and my name even gets mentioned in the dialog; can’t ask for much more than that! It hasn’t fully sunk in yet that my work will end up on the big screen sometime next year, but I can’t wait to see it! So stoked.

Huge thanks to Rob for giving me the opportunity to work with him on his film and for the exposure. Above and beyond man…

I also designed a Jenn Droid poster for a different scene in the film that we had printed up last week. I took a different direction for the design on that one, with inspiration coming from a certain TV publication I referenced daily growing up in the ’80s. I’ll be posting that bad boy next week, so stay tuned!