Pick Your Brain: Jonboy Meyers

Featuring Jonboy Meyers

Q: Mike – “As one of the most sought-after variant cover artists out there, could you explain your approach when it comes to laying out a variant cover? Specifically, your insights into what makes a cover “hot” and sellable.”

A: Oh wow, that’s very nice to hear. I would have to preface by saying there are SO many talented folks out there that if you are an artist who does covers for comics, the bar needs to be as high as you possibly can push your work to compete with all the amazing covers that are put out by publishers these days. Comics are very expensive and people have a lot of choices, so you want to make it an easy choice for them to pick up your cover, and you want people to feel like they are getting their money’s worth—if the interiors are not that great, at least they have a great cover.

When I’m doing a cover, I usually just find out what titles sit next to that book on the rack, and the goal is to do something that will:

  1. Stand out from those titles.
  2. Google Search the title I’m working on and try to do something different from what is usually done so it will stand out. There are a lot of repeat poses and themes in books. You want to change it up—be different, be weird (as long as the editor will let you do so).
  3. Make it as iconic as possible. If he’s a hero, make it read over-the-top hero. If it’s a villain, make him look as evil or menacing as possible. You are telling stories with images, so say what you want to say with the single image you have.

Q: You’ve done variants for a lot of publishers so far. Do you have a favorite that you like working with?

A: Not really. Usually, what I have in my mind falls short of the final result. I aspire to make it awesome, but when I finish it, I tend to noodle at it and try to fix my shortcomings or where I think I fell short. I don’t think you should ever be satisfied with your work; you always want to try to do better on the next one.

Q: What’s the most challenging thing for you to draw?

A: The most challenging thing is to do a great job with characters you don’t really like to draw. You have to remember this is someone’s favorite character, and you have to try to find something about that character that resonates with you as an artist to do the best job you possibly can. But if I can’t see it, I usually turn those jobs down if I don’t think I can deliver and do a great job.

Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever been asked to draw?

A: Usually commissions where people want gratuitous nudity, which I turn down flat. I think fantasy “Franzetta-like” stuff is okay and part of the fantasy genre, but as an artist, your brand is you, and you don’t want to lose a job because a potential employer “Googles” your work and finds a lot of X-rated images. Brands have an image, and they don’t want to associate their top-tier brand with things that could hurt the brand. But if you as an artist like doing that sort of thing, that’s okay too; just remember that you may lose jobs over it. To me, it’s really not worth it.

Q: Out of all the pieces you’ve done, do you have a favorite?

A: Hmmm, eh, not really. I do like all the Battle Chaser ones I did, since Joe Mad has been, and still is, a huge influence on me and my work. It was a huge honor to do three covers for his comics. It’s nice to do “Otaku,” or fan work, because something means so much to you and your growth as an artist. I didn’t even want to get paid; I just wanted to do them and give back to Joe, whose work means so much to me.

Q: If there was one title that you could work on and do a cover for, what would it be?

A: Hmmm – more Batman covers would be nice. I think I’m still finding my look for Batman, and I think Captain America would be great. I would love to revisit Spawn and do more proper covers since I feel like my work is just now getting interesting, and The Darkness would be great. Doing horror characters really lets you go.


Jonboy Meyers is an illustrator and concept designer working in animation, video games, and comic books. Some of his past credits include: Black Dynamite, Thor, Generator Rex (animation), Supergirl, Huntress, She-Hulk, Hulk, Spiderman, Danger Girl, Justice League of America, X-Men (comic books), League of Legends, Motor Storm Apocalypse (videogames), and World of Warcraft TCG (illustration).

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