Behind the scenes: How we made that super Scouting magazine cover

Delivering a great Scouting program takes a team effort. Same goes for delivering a great Scouting magazine cover.

So I wanted to give you an exclusive look at the team behind our unique September-October 2014 cover.

Our “Super Scouters!” story tells of eight volunteers who — like you — make time for work, home and Scouting.

We consider Scouters to be everyday superheroes, so we wanted to really play up the superhero/comic-book theme.

Our cover model, Rick Chambers, isn’t a model at all. He’s the committee chairman of a troop in the Dallas area, a role he makes time for despite his 50- to 60-hour workweeks at a jewelry company.

Getting Rick into the photo studio was only the beginning. Take a look at the five steps that took this cover to the next level.

Step 1: Photograph Rick Chambers, Scouting superhero

SC0914_COVER5W. Garth Dowling, Scouting magazine’s director of photography, took the photograph of Rick.

We wanted to convey the concept of this Scouting volunteer heading straight from his job into his Scouting role, and I think Garth captured that brilliantly.

It’s not a foreign concept for most Scouters, I bet. Even though you probably don’t wear your Scout uniform under your work clothes, chances are you’ve made a quick change into or out of your Scout uniform.

After taking the perfect photo, Garth’s job was done. He passed the image on to our Photoshop wizard.

Step 2: Transform the photo in Photoshop

SC0914_COVER4There’s nothing Marcie Rodriguez, imaging artist for the BSA’s magazines, can’t do in Photoshop.

For this project, she tells me she applied several Photoshop filters, most notably “posterize.”

“There was a lot of drawing involved, using the paintbrush tool, painting in shadows and highlights,” she says.

The result of all that hard work was a highly stylized illustration that made Rick look even more heroic. Click the image to take a closer look.

Step 3: Find the perfect background

SC0914_COVER3After searching through hundreds of backgrounds, the art team settled on a nice downtown cityscape.

The stock illustration helps continue the comic-book theme.

“It just needed to be resized and the color tweaked in Adobe Illustrator,” Marcie says.

Step 4: Add the image to the background

Senior Art Director Elizabeth Morgan added the “cartoonized” Rick to the background using Adobe InDesign.

Now the cover’s really coming together, but it needs one more touch.

Step 5: Include some comic-book text

Kevin Hurley, who does incredible work for Boys’ Life, lent his talents to Scouting to create the comic-book text that says “Super Scouters!”

It really pops off the page and ties everything together, I think.

And there you have it! A look at the team effort behind the finished product that showed up in your mailbox.

Haven’t read our “Super Scouters!” story? Flip to page 36 in your September-October 2014 issue. Or read it online.


About Bryan Wendell 2944 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.