Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Replaneled: The Eternals #7, Page 18

REPANELED SUBMISSION: The Eternals #7, page 18

Originally drawn by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer

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Here's yet another submission of the delightfully fun REPANELED Blog.  In this case, it is from Jack Kirby's 1977 series "The Eternals", issue 7, page 18.  I found most of the series run in a back issue box when I was in my late teens and scooped them up.  Grant Morrison was beginning his run on "Doom Patrol" and "Animal Man", so I thought I was used to seeing crazy-imaginative ideas on the comic page.

While Morrison is still one of my favorite writers today, the ideas put forth by Kirby are truly astonishing in their scope and grandeur.  In this case, it was the story of space gods (the Celestials) returning after millennia to check up on their genetic experiments (ie. Humans, Eternals, and Deviants).  One of the Celestials, Arishem, had a symbol on his thumb which would end the world when activated if the experiment (ie. Earth) was deemed a failure.  How cool is that?  Later issues include the Uni-Mind--a sort of group-mind of individuals given a literal, psychic form of a collective consciousness.  And that's only the beginning.  Every issue had some new concept in it (and in many cases more than just one) which thrilled and dazzled the imagination.

Sure, the execution of those ideas may have left a little something to be desired--the dialogue was a bit clunky and the stories seemed to shift around and were a bit flighty... but the core ideas within the comics were absolutely amazing.  Morrison, Ellis, Moore, and Millar... Kirby had much BIGGER, cosmic ideas and was doing them a decade or two before they even got started.

There is just something about the dynamism of Jack Kirby's work--both in the art and the stories--which continues to fascinate me and I have grown to appreciate more as time goes by.  He was truly a genius!

As usual, here's the process (click on the pictures to embiggen):

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First, I did a series of 30 second to one minute sketches to work out the composition of the panel I wanted to recreate. I used ball-point pen and/or marker on typing paper, with the images typically being about 2" x 3", give-or-take. In one of the sketches, I had considered putting in a flock of birds flying past Arishem's outstretched arm, but thought it would be more distracting and confusing to the image. The panel was going to be busy enough with all the lettering and the Kirby Crackle and such, so it didn't need the addition of the birds for drama--there was enough going on at it was.

After I decided on the composition, it was time to get painting...

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STEP ONE:  On a 10" x 15" gessoed piece of illustration board, I quickly painted a generic sky scene...

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STEP TWO:  And all of the interesting parts of the sky were then covered over by the underpainting of the Celestial, Arishem. Sigh... When will I learn? :-)

I did the underpainting in black-and-white to establish the general values (lights and darks) of the page.

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STEP THREE:  I went back in and painted more clouds/sky on the other side of the panel, as I probably should have done in the first place, had I been thinking about it for about 10 seconds.  I also added a bit more detail to the black-and-white underpainting, trying to get the shadows and highlights worked out.

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STEP FOUR:  Here's the final acrylic painting. I painted color over top of the black-and-white underpainting, trying to keep the values matched to what was underneath. I'm not entirely sold on the whole process of doing an underpainting and about half the time I just go straight into painting with color on the board.  But, sometimes, it seems to help.  **Shrug**

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STEP FIVE:  I imported it into PhotoShop and did a little digital tweaking. I added a glow to the face mask of Arishem and the doomsday glyph o his thumb with a Gaussian blur. To do that, I copied the areas I wanted to glow to a new layer in PhotoShop and applied the blur filter. I also added a "Kirby Crackle" on a new layer using the Paintbrush and Eraser tools, then selected the "crackle" and used the circular Gradation Tool going from white to black, and reduced the opacity to 60%.

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STEP SIX:  Of course, most of the Kirby Crackle I spent about 20 minutes figuring out how to create was covered up by the lettering. Again, WHEN WILL I LEARN? And why is the answer to that question always "NEVER!"? Sigh. However, even if you don't wind up using those parts in your art, all of it is good practice, I suppose. :-)

Anyways, I added the lettering, threw an 8-pixel border around it, called it "DONE!", and sent it off to Anthony for his site. Ta da!  UPDATE: It's up at the REPANELED Site today, November 9, 2011.  Thanks, Anthony!  :-)

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This was done with Acrylic paint on 10" x 15" gessoed illustration board with digital alterations and additions.


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