From Sketch to Newsstand: How the Cover Art for "Tales of Strange Romance" Got Drawn

​This week's cover story, "Tales of Strange Romance: Stories of Single Life in San Francisco," looks at 10 tales of the bizarre, straight from the front lines of single life in San Francisco. To get the highly stylized cover art we wanted, SF Weekly art director Andrew Nilsen turned to illustrator Jason Crosby. Crosby walked us through how his series of sketches turned into the finished cover art you can find on newsstands today. Check it out after the jump.

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"My three initial sketches," explained Crosby via e-mail, "were all very loose. I did come up with the 'romance comic' idea here, with the gimp trying to kiss the woman."

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"I focused more on the 'romance comic' idea depicting the gimp in two settings," Crosby says. "'Gimp Love' was used just as placement until we could decide on a title for the comic. The layout of the comic, using the SF Weekly logo, is coming together."

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"We've chosen the direction and layout of the faux comic and I've tightened the characters," he says. "We're still undecided on the title and the character's thoughts."

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"Here, the layout is finalized (using only the gimp's thought bubble)," says Crosby. "New characters were chosen for the vertical 'featuring' bar. 'Tales of Strange Romance' was chosen for the title of the faux comic."

Once the sketches were lined up, the cover went through three more iterations.


First, there's an inked version with the red sidebar.


Then, there's a semicolored version of the cover.


Finally, we have the fullly colored, finished version of the cover.

Want to see it all in context? Check out the cover story, "Tales of Strange Romance: Stories of Single Life in San Francisco," or pick up a copy anywhere around town.

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I really enjoy seeing the creative process for things like these. And not to toot horns or whatever but the cover art for the Muni Death spiral piece I co wrote was brilliant. Simple, reinforced the topic and overall great.

That said, this week's is also great. When I saw it at the news stand by my apartment I literally LOL'd and had to see what it was about. I didn't even read the headline until I got home. Overall though your cover art is pretty creative. High five.

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