Jem and the Holograms
I actively avoided the world of IDW's Jem comics for years because I'm a hardcore fan of the original 80's series, the kind of annoying super nerd that is never satisfied by anything but the original and needs to set everyone on the internet right about it. Anyway, I've now read all of the comics because they totally blew me away.
So getting an email out of the blue from IDW asking if I wanted to do a cover for the new Dimensions series definitely checked a box off my childhood dreams come true list.
The cover didn't have to connect to the interior stories so I could literally do anything I wanted. I said I wanted to do two covers.
For my personal contribution to the oeuvre of officially licensed Jem and the Holograms art, I wanted to create innovative interpretations of the two main characters that appealed to both current readers and fans of the original series—covers that mashed all of the magical alt rock girl power buttons.
I wanted to express Jem and Pizzazz's core personalities using as few graphic elements as possible. I brought in materials and techniques that recalled the aesthetic of the original series as a way to quickly communicate the character and brand identity.
Jem is a holographic projection, an illusion, essentially only existing for the stage. Her "true identity" is as much Synergy, the supercomputer projecting her holographic form, as it is Jerrica, the woman wearing that hologram. I blended Jem's hair, makeup, and dress with the negative space of the background gradient to create a sense of her being there but also not. The gradient itself mimics the original logo and the spray painted color gives her a bit of an ephemeral ghost-like quality.
Pizzazz's whole identity and strength as a character comes from this absolute and resolutely unshakable perception she has of herself as the queen of rock and roll. She has it all and she knows it. So I painted her quite literally as a badass crown-wearing queen sitting on her throne and stroking Madmartigan, her cat, imagined as a fierce and attractive cheetah.
Our Hair Is Better
I was very inspired by the way Sophie Campbell's character designs in the comics played with the characters' identities and modernized their hallmarks in clever ways. There was a sense of humor in it that I connected with instantly. I created a series of character portraits of the Misfits based on her design style. Each is 4"x6" and painted in gouache with colored pencil.