Wesley Eggebrecht is a TransWorld illustrator success story. Art Director Dustin Koop first caught wind of Wesley through a postcard in his mailbox. His first assignment was illustrating the mail column for the September issue, his second was illustrating the 2011 Gear Guide cover and providing spot illustrations throughout the issue—basically providing the design theme of the issue. The key to his success according to Koop is both that he works fast and that he easily understands and implements feedback … fast.
We caught up with the Northern Michigan based illustrator to get behind the scenes on how the Gear Guide illustration process evolved. But first—the making of the cover:
What’s your background in, excuse the term, “action sports”?
I’ve always been into “action sports”. At an early age, my parents brought my brother and sisters and I night skiing near our home in Northern Michigan. It was a blast. Once I switched to snowboarding though, I never skied again. Boarding is too much fun. I also messed around with skateboarding, wakeboarding, and a little BMX riding as well.
Have you ever ridden or been to mountains as big as the ones you drew?
I’ve been lucky to snowboard in Canada a couple times which was a nice change from Northern Michigan, but it’s nothing like what people are riding out West. I’m still waiting for the opportunity to get out there and tear it up.
How specific of an assignment were you given for this cover illustration?
When I first got the e-mail from [TWS Art Director] Koop, I though I was illustrating some monsters over some product shots. I had no idea I would get to do the whole cover, products, monsters, environment, and all. When I found that out, I was super stoked as any illustrator would be. It gave me a chance to bring it to the next level, and I was very happy with the final.
Did you know what the cover would look like from the beginning or does it reveal itself as you’re drawing?
The cover revealed itself. Once I knew what products were going to be featured on the cover, the drawing kind of took off. I love drawing monsters and weird creatures of all types and it was just a matter of creating a composition that displayed the products and also allowed me to have fun with the monsters. It was a great project.
How long did it take you from start to finish?
Koop had some great ideas and we went back and forth for about a week and a half before the cover was completed.
What medium did you use to draw this? What was the process?
My illustration process is pretty straightforward. First I rough out my idea with a couple quick loose sketches. After I get the approval on which one to go forward with, I work on a series of more detailed cleaned up versions. Once there are no more revisions I go forward to draw the final line art with pencil and paper. I scan the drawing and use Photoshop for the coloring process. This allows me to work fast and make color changes quickly. All of this is done using a WACOM Cintiq, my favorite tool besides a real pencil.
I recall that Koop requested you to make the monsters on the cover “less scary.” How do you do that-erase some fangs and blood or …?
Yea, that’s pretty much it. Get rid of some fangs and erase some extra lines. When you get rid of lines it makes the overall feel softer and more like a cartoon. I would have liked to make them even creepier and twisted, Haha!
Which of the section openers was the hardest to conceive of for an illustration? I’m going to guess alternative camber section …
Definitely the alternative camber section, how do you draw a monster based around how a board flexes? The only thing I could think of was having a monster that was twisting himself and having some of his body parts twisted. I think the result came out pretty sick.
Have you seen the issue on the newsstands yet? Thoughts?
Not yet, but I can’t wait! Every time I pass a magazine rack I stop and look. I think with the illustrated cover and the choice of colors it’s going to just pop. I am so jazzed
We’re jazzed, too. To see more of Wesley’s art (and scarier monsters) go to wesleyeggebrecht.com, you can also see his artwork every month in the TWS Mail column.