Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Judge Anderson: Shamballa

Preliminary sketch #2 by Arthur Ranson
When I was asked to design the Judge AndersonShamballa Graphic Novel for Fleetway back in 1991, I thought it would be good to get away from the usual full-figure leather-clad Judge Anderson images that Titan had on their book covers. Not that I had anything against them; they were beautifully rendered by Garry Leach and they looked terrific, but I just thought it would be interesting to have a cover that showed Anderson using her psychic powers and quietly thinking. I spoke to Arthur Ranson about this and he sent me a couple of sketches, one which nailed it perfectly. With that approved he went on to complete the full artwork and I set about designing the cover itself. For some reason, I couldn't find any type styles that seemed interesting enough for the 'Shamballa' main title, so I hand drew it based on something I'd seen in a book of Russian typography. The rest was typeset, as was everything in those pre-computer days; either typset or rubbed down from sheets of Letraset anyway. The symbols were taken from a set of Zener cards that I owned. These are used to conduct experiments for extra-sensory perception, so I thought they'd be relevant as well as being graphically interesting.
Not long after I'd completed the camera-ready artwork, Arthur's finished art arrived in the post and looked absolutely stunning as it always did; in fact I liked it so much he agreed to let me buy the original from him. I also kept photocopies of his original sketches which I present here, so you can see the process from preliminary sketch to the final beautifully rendered artwork.

Preliminary sketch #1 by Arthur Ranson


  1. Great post, Steve; always nice to get some context for the artwork. Arthur really made Anderson his own - even Brian Bolland considers him to be the definitive artist on the character - and that's a beautiful cover you put together.

    1. Thanks, David!
      Nice to get the feedback. Also, good info about Brian Bolland; I didn't know that.


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