Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Lost in Toyland

-By Dan dos Santos

Here's a recent cover I did for DC Vertigo's 'Fables Deluxe Edition: Book 13' that just hit the shelves.

This book collects the 'Cubs in Toyland' story arc, which is undoubtedly, one of the darkest, and saddest Fables stories. It's about a boy who travels to a desolate land in a quest to find and save his sister who has been abducted by a group of murderous toys.

The client ask that I try to capture that sense of foreboding, without being too depressing or giving anything away. I quickly settled onto the idea of showing the young boy wandering the desolate shore  of this land, with the scattered remains of toys lying all about.

This perhaps my favorite Fables story. Not only is there is a ton of great imagery to pull inspiration from, but the main character in this arc looks a lot like my son, whom I've never actually gotten a chance to put into an illustration of mine before. I had to make him look a few years older than he is, but some subtle proportional changes to his body was enough to get the job done.

Here's a look at the Sepia underpainting, which I did using pencil and Holbein Acryla-Gouache. The Acryla-Gouache let me get some nice textures into the sand quite easily using a sponge and a spray bottle.

And here is how the final cover appears with type. The full image is obviously a wraparound, and appears beneath the dust jacket completely type free.


  1. Ok while Homelands is my favorite arc (total Boy Blue fan) I love this piece. Cubs in Toyland is a brilliant story and man, what a great painting!

  2. This is great! How did you manage to keep so much of the under painting texture in the final? Specifically for the sand and castle. Thanks.

    1. I tend to lose the underpainting in the light areas, but the shadow areas are just transparent layers, so everything shows through.

  3. I've been hearing more about these Acryla-Gouaches; how do they compare to traditional gouache? Do they dry more permanent than the standard stuff? (Gorgeous scene, unsurprisingly! :))

    1. Precisely. They are basically just gouache with a little acrylic polymer in them. So they don't reactivate with water, but still go down like regular gouache.

  4. This painting is absolutely beautiful!


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