Sunday, January 22, 2006

CELL :: The Stephen King Project

tomer :: for the first time in it's history Entertainment Weekly magazine is running an excerpt of a novel. CELL is King's homage to zombie films and his goriest, most horrific novel in years. from Amazon: 'In Cell King taps into readers fears of technological warfare and terrorism. Mobile phones deliver the apocalypse to millions of unsuspecting humans by wiping their brains of any humanity, leaving only aggressive and destructive impulses behind.' the hero of the book does not own a cell phone and therefore not infected.

The opening scene unfolds in the Boston Common (a park) by an ice-cream truck. our hero, a struggling cartoonist, just sold his first Graphic novel ( ! ) and filled with optimism, stands in line to get himself an ice-cream just as the cell phone meltdown hits.

since the excerpt is spread over five pages, I've created these spots referring the story's exposition about the world being destroyed within a month -- the idea is to have a mundane street corner transitioning into a burning ruin. the destruction is broken down into five stages so the reader is experiencing a sense of time passing watching the images and reading the story. this will also play to the hero's profession (a comic book artist) by lightly quoting a famous Crumb strip called 'a short history of america'

I tried keeping the color light, positive and pastel so to support the ice-cream / day in the park atmosphere and let the gore exist in contrast.


  1. Anonymous12:59 PM

    Wow! Striking illustration! I'll be sure to watch out for it. (Didn't Stephen King retire?)

  2. Anonymous10:32 PM

    I saw this the other day on the news stand. The drawings (and the book) look terrific. Thanks for the breakdown of your process.

  3. Great job tomer -- EW always seems to have terribly fun assignments (I wish they would think of me more often)

    Spot 4 is a standout for me. Reminds me of Maruo.

  4. Looks like normal day in the park here in Barcelona. Spot 4 indeed is the my eye catcher too! Maybe the mainpiece would need little bit tighter cropping for more dramatic effect?

  5. dude, i just saw this in the magazine. crazy images. cool stuff!

  6. your style is incredible!

    i'm very drawn in to your work.

  7. Hahaha...oh man...I don't know if it's the colors or what...but this stuff is really kind of funny.

    Nice color choices all around.
    The circle sequentials have that vacuous/tragic feel of Chris Ware's work. Bang on!


  8. brad- yeah so did I, I guess he decided to retire his retirement...he was still writing pop culture columns for EWeekly all this time.
    chris- I haven't seen the actual mag yet...from what it looks on their site it got a PG makeover, lots of details got 'cleaned up'
    jj- I was looking at Maruo for another job but his stuff has a way of sipping into your brain like insect blood.
    pietry- just been to Barcelona and it's nothing like it! it was paradise. i think the main piece was cropped eventually (from what i can tell on their site they cut off the puddle guts and other over-the-top details, so it's missing about 3 inches all around.
    willipino- thanks!
    les- glad you stopped by :)
    skinshark- i know what you mean.. it came looking like a circus. the tone of the story had a certain lightness, not that it didn't take it self seriously...but it was full of humor. when the puddle got run over he wrote something like "from fluff to guts, in seconds".

  9. Dear lord, these are good. Can't wait to read the book also.

  10. "from fluff to guts, in seconds".

    HAHAHAHAA...OH MAN...yeah baby...I'm in.


  11. Anonymous2:43 PM

    hi, Marina from Argentina. I'm a fan of King's work, its a pity i can't buy the magazine, looks very on the style, nice detail the smashed dog, and the colors make a regular nice day in a nightmare, i like it. Chau y felicitaciones

  12. Great idea for a blog. As always your illos are kick ass. So, why won't you illustrate something for us? Just kidding.
    We killed an assignment on you. Rather, the story was killed. You do not know how that killed my day.

    I'm curious, what would you describe as a dream illo in magazines? If the illo drove the editorial content? And secondly,would you ever consider an collaborating on an illustration with another illustrator? For example Roberto Parada?

  13. bloody, nasty, i was afraid to show my parents! i love the black faces in one of the thumbnails...

  14. anthony- nice a-z project on the invention chronicles! feels like Gorey meets From Hell.
    Marina- I read an interview with king where he mentioned that when he is writing a story he starts with one main scenes and then we writes and builds the rest of the story around it....anyways, I was wondering if that could be the scene, though I'm sure the story gets much crazier later on.
    lvega- I was sorry to hear it ain't working out! and sadly couldn't take the other assignment that came shortly's always sort of overbooked. my dream job would be to be sent by a magazine to somewhere exotic and bring my visual impressions after living there for two weeks. not sketch book impressions but fully illustrated fully composed scenarios. Parada is way up there with the of the best portrait painters in the industry. I'm not sure how our art would mesh.
    josh- finally saw a copy of this magazine with both of our pieces in it, great image with the telescopes! I'm impressed with the perceptive art director who recognized that future vintage aesthetic would work so well.

  15. unbelivably amazing. the color is stellar. the concept is fucking brilliant and funny-twisted as hell. so is the movement/posture, and slight fish-eye view.

    by any chance is this ice cream/day in the park piece available in print or poster?

    (I think it would look especially good in really large size. I'm imagining it hanging in the middle of it's own wall my minimalist japanese-nordic post-modern home in Canada or Iceland that I own in my dreams. ) x)

  16. Anonymous1:32 AM

    Nice work. I didn't see the magazine, but I'm about half way through the novel and feel you did a find job of visualizing all the diverse elements of the opening pages.

  17. found you work via the life of pi competition, congratulations. great dynamic in your layouts.

  18. Anonymous5:21 PM

    Read the book...great fun. You HAVE to put out a graphic novel with King's Silver Bullet was done a while back...I would love to get my hands on an illustrated "Cell"

  19. That is awesome! I saw it in Juxtapose a while ago and just thought of looking it up online. Great work. That Book was amazingly visual too. I recognized the scene without having to read the title of your piece. :)