Monday, November 15, 2010

Wildcats



This time on my comic book series, Wildcats! There wasn't a single person who wanted to see this one, but I had to do it. I fell in love with Wildcats because of the work Travis Charest did on V2. If you haven't seen them, he did the first 6 and a half (ish) issues if I remember correctly, as well as Wildcats/X-men: The Golden Age, which is the best drawn comic books of all time in my opinion. I also love Ladytron as a character. I'm a huge fan of the cyberpunk genre, and she's definitively got that appeal. 80's future is the best future! I was having so much fun working on this that I pulled an all nighter! I've never done that without the impetus of a deadline.

I've been wanting to make covers that directly illustrate specific issues, but in this case I read the last couple issues, and it seems to be in the middle of a multifaceted story arch that I just felt out of tune with. So I made up a story for this illustration, something along the lines of Ladytron fighting against the team in a good robot being turned bad scenario. In this case, the piece evolved instead of being spelled out completely in a sketch. There was a time where Ladytron was the only thing in the page, and it looked fine. A little background work and it could have been a cover on it's own. There's no shortage of covers with just a posed character (or 2, or 20), but I honestly believe that all illustrations should tell a story! Otherwise they are just portraits, and that's not very interesting. Even Gil Elvgren would tell a story with his pin-ups, like her dress is being pulled up by a lobster or whatever, and that's enough story to make the piece work, campy as it is. He also painted "girl laying there provocatively" as well, but I don't think those are as interesting. With that being said, I give cover artists a lot of slack, because often they are on a tight deadline, or not even privy to the contents of the book, so sometimes a character pin-up is the best solution.

The process I used for this was unnerving, and I couldn't get over how weird is was during the drawing phase. It's a pencil drawing. Like a fucking #2 HB pencil with shading and everything. I usually only use pencils for sketches, and drawings that will be inked or painted over later. I haven't done a polished pencil drawing since high school, and I couldn't get over the feeling that I was going backward. There's nothing inherently wrong with working in pencil, it's forgiving and versatile, but I associate it with amateur artists and the very worse kinds of art you can find, like that guy at the rib cook-off who sells photo-realistic pencil drawings from celebrity head shots. Somehow people who don't know anything about art think he's the next Michelangelo. When I was drawing, I felt like any minute I would have to draw a heavily referenced wolf with a dream catcher behind it. In the end, though, I got a result that I couldn't be happier with. The pencil give the drawing a nice texture that helps balance out the slickness of working digitally, and it was a fairly fast way to work. All the values were set up in the drawing, so once I got it into Photoshop, it was more like tinting it with watercolor than opaque painting.


I should also point out that these characters are not mine, they are property DC/Wildstorm comics, and I made this purely for fun and portfolio purposes.

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