Tuesday, February 20, 2007
NXM: X-TRAS 01
I wanted to try something new for my upcoming project, New X-men. I'm going to attempt to give you guys a weekly peek at the extras to the project such as characters designs, covers, interior previews, and some process stuff. I'm really amped to be working on this title, and I wanted to share that energy with you. Yea, I know, i'm sounding like some hippy here but I'm just that excited about this book.
So, to kick things off I'm giving you guys my take on 3 of the characters. Surge, X-23, and Anole. Let's get to it.
First I want to let you know my thoughts on something that I wanted to apply to all my designs. I have a piece of paper on the cork board in front of my desk that reads: AGE IS MORE THAN JUST A NUMBER. This is my mantra while working on this book and these characters. The average age of the cast is 16. Some being 15 to 17, but mostly 16. My goal is to make these characters look their ages. I think that it's an important part of story telling. When a character looks 16 the situations that they find themselves in carry so much more weight. Youth can give you a sense of frality, inexperience, temper, anger, ect. If a 16 year old looks 28, than the issues at hand will feel less impactfull. I want you to feel the vulnerablity in the youthfullness of these characters. I love Paco Medinas art, and have been a huge fan of his for many years, but I did feel that the age of some of the characters were a little blury at first glance. After speaking with Chris about the characters I was suprised to find out how young some of them were. For homework, I've been watching Veronica Mars, Everwood, Smallville, etc. to see what high school kids to should look at feel like. So, that's an overall rule for me when tackling these kids.
Surge: I love the look of this character. Before reading the books, based on just seeing some reference given to me, I had no idea she was Japanese. So, once I found out, I was excited at the challenge to make here look japanese at first glance.
I have the advantage of having a few great friends married to beautiful Japanese women so my reference was pretty close. I learned that thier hair can be very coarse, which is how you see younger, trendy Japanese kids with the super spikes in thier hair. So, I wanted to go with that. I didn't want the hair to feel semetrical either. I tried to make it seem off balance and sloppy. I think when the color is added it will add to the effect.
I liked the way her costume was designed, so i stuck with that basic idea with just a few cosmetic changes. I cut her pants off a little. She had really baggy pants, and I figured that in battle, the pants would get caught up alot, so get rid of the bottom few inches. I still like the "techy" shoes, but didn't want to leave her legs bare so I added some slim cover to that. Again, trying to add a bit of asian flavor, I added some wraps to her torso. Instead of a sports bra, whe pulls out the bandages and wraps up. This idea was very inspired by Mulan. I also added some padding to her thighs, almost like football players where. I added some grounding bolts to those pads.
She's always had these cool robot style fore arms and everyone has drawn them different. I am following suit. I didn't want to make them huge and chunky, but I still wanted to add something unique to them. I popped open Ghost in the Shell for this part.
X-23: I basically popped up my buddy Josh Middleton's take on X-23 and tried to see how I would do her with his version in mind. Josh nailed the goth style of character when he drew her and I wanted to bring it back to that. Again, I love Paco's work, but I feel that sexuality is more in the for front instead of this darker bad ass Wolvie Clone. And, she is 16, very important to keep that in mind. I went with a less planned costume. Some more worn and tattered from battle, but still keeping it slightly sexy. (i feel so dirty..she's fucking 16!!!) Again, I don't like semitry, so I threw in an under skirty to help keep it a tad off balance. And leather wraps to give her some bit of texture. My girl friend just got these boots, and they really inspired me here. Very manly style boots, but they're so cool on a girl. But, overall, I think she feels the same, just a little younger looking.
Anole: I love this guy!!!! Love him, Love Him, Love Him. I can't wait to draw him, and then draw him some more. And man, later...well, I'll keep that to myself for now. Not much to do to change him. Just a few little tweaks here and there. I'm going to give hima more textured head. I like the way Duncan drew Anole on him fill in so I'm using that style of "shell head". I think it's always been more just a checker board style, but I thought that this feels a bit more repitlian. And this is the first character that I wanted to draw in normal clothes. And, again, his age was my main concern. I was looking around online at 15 years olds, and they look..well 15. They're young looking, just like we were. Again, I think visual youth is a great story telling tool, and will really help sell the extreme situations. And, like Surge, I think that once there is some color on him, he'll sing.
Ok, so there is my first installment of New X-men X-tras. It's very long...too long for me to read, and I applaud you ahead of time if you made it thru. I hope this helps give you a small idea of what I am thinking about while going into each character. I'm not just putting down lines for the sake of drawing. I truley attempt at haveing purpose behind what you end up seeing. It will take some time to get used to these characters but i'm looking foward to playing with them some more. So, stay tuned for next weeks NXM X-tras for a few more characters, and mabye a cover.