Creation of the The Crash Annual 2018 cover by Oliver Frey in pictures!

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A big part of the Crash Annual 2018 was the brand new cover by Oliver Frey. We kept it a surprise for all those who had pledged for a copy on the Kickstarter and those who pre-ordered on the Fusion Retro Books site. I asked Roger if he would take some pics as Oli created this new painting using an air brush – the way these masterful covers were created back in the day. What follows is a sequence of images of how the cover progressed from a pencil drawing to fully painted and framed.

— Oli’s airbrush – out of retirement.

— Pencil rough marked out with the basic elements. This will be scanned in and printed out 150% enlarged for tracing down onto the art board.

— Having penciled in the outlines, using masking tape the edge is masked and the vertical light rays, and the using black ink, Oli brushes the simple outlines.

— The horizontal rays of light masked out (shape cut by scalpel), and masking tape and scraps of paper protect the area around the Chairman’s head. (The scraps are  the roughs for the Join The Dots page.)

— More tape and paper scraps to protect the remainder of the area around the Chairman.

— Beginning to airbrush the Chairman’s head.

— Monochrome airbrushing of the Chairman finished, masks removed.

— First application (airbrushed) of colour; note the splashy lighting effect beside the head is masked using a rubber solution, which allows for a more painterly effect than the straight lines of the masked light rays.

— Adding in outline colour detail for the machines using a brush.

— Lighting masking rubber removed and the figures roughly airbrushed in.

— Beginning to add detail to the faces.

— Spectrum’s now coloured in and the faces finished (except for the boy bottom left; he would be hidden behind the diagonal cover bars and finished after the cover went to press to save time!). Just the Chairman’s eyes to finish.


— The finished painting. Note that it is larger than what appears as the finished hardback cover because Oli has to allow 20 mm overlap top, bottom and right-hand side, which the printer folds around the cover board and which mostly disappears under the end papers.


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