Monday, February 26, 2007
Well, I'm proud of myself for sticking to this 2 weeks in a row. Usually I can loose track of time pretty easy.
And thanks to everyone for commenting. I think we've set a record for most comments on one post. Let's see if we can break it this time. So, this is the second instalment of New X-men X-tras and I'm showing 2 new character sketches. Plus, I thru some very quick spot colors on all the characters so far. I really just needed a color guide, and color always make a sketch feel a little more real.
Each week, I'll add the new characters to this sheet. Well, let's get started.
HELLION: I really like this character. I dig his attitude and think that it will make for some great character moments in the drawings. Like last week, Age is my main concern. While I wanted him to feel a little more built, I still wanted to stay away from making him too big. He's 16, and I know there are some pretty muscular 16 years olds, but metabolism still plays a role in some that age. We're like machines at that age. You're body just burns everything and I wanted to apply that to Hellion. I kept him fairly skinny, or slim, but really carved him up. So, he's more wirey than bulky. And because his powers are not strength based, I don't see any reason to make him too huge.
Chris Yost explained that his attitude would be close to Sawyer from lost. Kind of a dick, but something going on underneath it all. So, I made some minor tweaks keeping those thought in mind. First, his hair. Again, I don't want it to sound like I'm dissing Paco at all, because I think he is an amazing artist, and I know that alot of these characters were drawn by other people first. But I felt that his hair has been too "pretty". Very nicely groomed, and always really cool. So, I wanted to give it some length and really keep it devoid of all styles. Make it seem that Julian could give a shit about what his hair looks like and there is something about slightly long hair that gives off the idea of someone being a bad ass. Also, the pants. Would Sawyer from Lost be caught dead in tights or would he pull a gun on you for suggesting the notion. I think Hellion would rather die than were tights. And thinking about it, would any of us, you or I ever agree to where tights for any reason what so ever? I think the answer is no. So, with out ditching the design everyone is used too, I just slightly adjusted the pants making them more like..well, pants. Leather in design to make for a tougher, protective surface. Very simlar to what we've seen the the X-men movies. The gloves have also changed a bit. I want things to be practicle to a degree. So, the things that we fight with the most are our hands. I wanted to bring the gloves up higher to create a form of protection for the forearms. I figure if someone is wearing gloves, it should be for a purpose. I don't like items of clothing for no reason. You will never see me have a character with pockets all over a belt unless that character needs to keep things in pockets on his belt. Same goes for things like gloves.
PIXIE: There's not alot to say about this one. I feel like a broken record, but I think she is alot of fun as well. I truley like most of these characters. It seems that when it comes to the JV squad, I like putting them in their civies, as it seems like we seem the most in those clothes...at least for now. I wanted to make here wings look more like a butter fly than just ovals on her back. I pulled out the master of Pixies and Fairies, Brian Froud and went to town. I tried to make her hair a little more unique as well, giving you the sense that she is a pixie. something uncovential to a normal girls hair. Keeping it cute, but also making it a little fun in the process. When I think of faries, or pixies, I think of nature. Trees, flowers, gras..etc. Since they live in a school, surrounded by giant robots and rooms full of tech things, I added the nature into her clothes. By adding some stiched on patches of flowers and vines her her jeans, i think I can keep the feeling of nature in her character with out having her sitting on tree stumps and the like. And while have her color be bright, I went with a semi hippy design to her clothing. belled out jeans, denim, etc. I think that also lends itself to idea of nature.
I did get an email from a fan asking me for a favor and I'm glad he did. He said that Michael Ryan designed her with the black, marble style eyes and asked me if I could bring that back. Honestly, I did not know that was the way she was designed, and am happy to bring that back. I love the idea, and if I was creating this character from scratch, I would have done that myself. So, here you go, I hope you like the eyes.
Now that we have the characters explained, I throw you some general ideas that I've incorperated into these designs. Some people have pointed out that the feet are very flat. This is intentional. I know I'm not a "realistic" artist, but some people forget to really look at reality and see how odd it really is. Feet for example, are very odd looking things. They are truley..flat. I mentioned before that I want my designs to have a sense of practicality in them. With characters that spend a lot of time running, jumping, fighting, and over all staying in motion, foot wear becomes very important. I myself would want to have foot were that is protective, but very agile at the same time. So, if I take the concept of a boot, and put it into a track shoe, than I think the character has the best of both worlds. If you've ever looked a real track shoe, you would think that it's fake. There are very, very flat, and look almost silly in design. But they serve their purpose by allowing the runner to move thier feel fully with any restraint, resulting a much quicker runner.
Ok, so yeay, I 'm a huge nerd. Maybe I think too much about these fictional characters, but to me that's the fun about this job. How can I believe in each drawing and character. I called Chris Yost and grilled him for awhile on each character and they're background and he probably thought, "hey, they're fake...just draw the damn things!" haha. I just thought you guys might be interested in hearing how nerdy I can truely get.
Until next time...enjoy.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
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.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
New X-men. As some of you may have noticed in the Marvel solicits, I'm listed as artist on New X-men 38. Well, they actually misprinted last month for issue 37 as I'm also working on part of that one. But, for the forseable future you will be able to see me regularly on New X-men. My first covers are insane. 4 covers that connect together! As soon as I can I'll get you guys some art to check out.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
I know I've been out of the loop for longer than I should have been, but I've been working on something pretty huge. Huge as in pure size, not really huge as in..what ever, you get the point. So, this is my new Cable/Deadpool cover featuring T-Ray. This was a character from the old DP series. He's like a zombie, voodoo guy. So, I decided to make good old Cable and Deadpool in voodoo dolls.
This is another in my line of texure, funky, "i'm an artist" type of covers...haha. I'm having a blast with these things, and from the majority of your comments, you guys seem to be feeling them as well. I thank you for that. It's nice that most of you are open to the new ideas. And for those of you who arent into them, it's ok and I completely understand. There will be some more "skottie" work coming.
I can't give you the full details just yet, but I am taking over as regular artist on a new Marvel book. For those of you that have asked me in the past when I might get on a regular title...well the wait is over. It won't be long and I'll have some art and the title, but for now just know that it will be starting very soon.