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Steve Lieber reveals technique behind Crime Bible engravings

Steve Lieber:

The faux-engravings were put together with a combination of very old and very new techniques. For the first four, Greg would send me the script and whatever art was completed for the issue, and I’d build a new illustration to match the composition of an important panel, creating an allegory for that issue’s “Lesson.”

The formal style the job required was a particular pleasure for me. I’m a huge admirer of old pen and ink artists like Charles Dana Gibson and Joseph Clement Coll, so slipping into a version of their manner was a lot of fun. And to reinforce the feeling that these were drawn in the 19th century, I built some of the backgrounds out of slices of art sampled from Gustave Dore’s 19th century biblical engravings. It just seemed right that the illustrator of the Crime Bible would steal from a peer. (Some contained Dore, some were all me.)

The next step would be to scan my own pen and ink drawings into Photoshop, lay them over scans of the Dore backgrounds and textures, and zoom way the hell in on the art so that every line looked like a big sailor’s rope. Then I’d rework the crosshatching to make everything fit together, (and in places to make the surface more consistent with an engraver’s technique than that of a pen and ink artist.) It was a lot of work, but it’s for a Rucka story, you know? You just do it.

Steve has kindly given us permission to present clean, pre-“aged” copies of his faux-engravings from the portfolio at his website:

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