Monday, August 29, 2011

Batman: Beginning, Middle, and End

 My Three Batmen
[Queue the theme song to "My Three Sons"] 

This is something I did as a bit of a joke for my pal, Dave, for his birthday last year.  I was originally going to paint it with just the very first version of Batman (with purple gloves, gun in hand, and all that) and the Dark Knight version of Batman with the giant, Kryptonite gloves.  A picture of Batman at the very beginning and a Batman at the very end of his career in comics.  But, then I realized I needed to have the 60's version of Batman in there, as well.

The camera caught the glare from the painting a little bit, so that is minorly annoying.  :-)

Looking at the picture now, there are a few things I would like to correct...  The Adam West bat symbol is a little off for some reason.  How did I not go back and fix that before I mailed it to him?  Sigh.  And the mid-section/abdomen of the Adam West Batman looks a little weird, as well.  The Dark Knight Batman's face can use a little more work, too.

It's sort of painful and embarrassing looking at parts of this now, but, on the bright side, part of improving means knowing that you could do better work now, I suppose.  

This was done with acrylic paint on 18" x 24" gessoed 1/8" hardboard panel.  


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Repaneld: Fantastic Four #5

Here's the original from "The Fantastic Four" #5 by Jack "King" Kirby and Joe Sinnot:

Here's yet ANOTHER submission to the delightful REPANELED Blog.  In this case, it is from "The Fantastic Four" #5, where the FF are transported back in time by Doctor Doom to get Blackbeard's treasure... it's a LONG story.  Well, not THAT long, but you know what I mean... and it's been reprinted plenty of times so go ahead and read it if you can!

Rather than my usual colorized black-and-white gouache paintings as done in some previous posts, this was done with charcoal on 12" x 18" Dick Blick Sulphite paper (80 lb).  For those of you who just can't get enough of the process, here it is.  For all the rest, be prepared to be bored!

STEP ONE:  With vine charcoal, I **VERY** loosely blocked in where I wanted everything to roughly fit on the page in an almost cartoonish manner.

STEP TWO:  And then almost immediately smeared the whole thing into an amorphous mess.  (That's the way I usually work with charcoal.)

STEP THREE:  I start to tighten up the drawing a bit with a 4B and 6B charcoal pencil and use my kneaded eraser a LOT--both to clean up the mess left by STEP TWO and to shape the form and add highlights.  Yes, kids, the eraser can ALSO be used to draw and not just erase mistakes.  :-)

I also settled on how I wanted Ben's pirate hat to look and, for my amusement, changed the original background guy in the panel to vaguely resemble a better-known pirate from a certain movie series.

STEP FOUR:  Ben Grimm (A.K.A., The Thing) is mostly done, now.  Again, this was done with continued layering of softer charcoal pencils and kneaded eraser to lift out lighter areas and highlights.  Time to work on that pirate fellow in the background...

STEP FIVE:  Well, here's the finished charcoal drawing.  I took a picture of it with my camera and then imported it into PhotoShop to colorize it.

STEP SIX:  Here it is colorized and cropped in PhotoShop, along with the added words.  It was basically the same method I used in previous posts: Over top the original picture, I added color on the Multiply Layer, as well as lightened some areas/retouched, and added a background with a generic Cloud Filter.

Done with charcoal on 12" x 18" Dick Blick Sulphite paper (80 lb.) and colorized in PhotoShop.

I realized a little too late that I didn't leave myself enough room to rotate the image a bit as I originally intended until after I had already copped it and got most of the way through colorizing.  I should have either drawn it at the tilted, Dutch-angle in the first place (preferred), or cropped it AFTER I rotate the image and BEFORE I start colorizing the image.  I'm sure there's a lesson in there somewhere for me.  :-)

Now that I look at it, I almost like the black-and-white charcoal drawing better than the colorized version.  Sigh...  On top of that, in comparison, I think Kirby did a better job of capturing the pathos of Ben Grimm (well, he **IS** the "King", after all).


Friday, August 12, 2011

Repaneled: Detective Comics #32 - Batman Vs. Vampire

Here is yet another submission to the delightful Repaneled site.  Poor Anthony is going to be so sick of getting my submissions... :-)  (UPDATE: It was posted on Tuesday, August 16th, 2011.  :-)

I saw this panel and did a mental double-take: Batman shooting a vampire in the face with a silver bullet?  Let me repeat that: Batman shoots a vampire in the face with a silver bullet!  How could I **NOT** do a remake of that panel?

The original by Bob Kane, from "Detective Comics" #42.

For fun, here's the process...

STEP ONE:  I did the original painting with black-and-white gouache, which is an opaque watercolor, on Arches Hot-Press 140# watercolor paper.  For things like this, I prefer the smoother surface.  I decided to forgo any sort of reference pictures for this one, too--not sure how much of a good that that is, sometimes.  I also cheated a little bit (OK, a LOT) with the perspective of the coffin: it is completely screwed up compared to the rest of the room, but that way it showcases both Batman and the head vampire.  Sometimes reality has to take a back seat to the art.  :-)

I then scanned the painting into my computer with some minor adjustments in PhotoShop.

STEP TWO:  In PhotoShop, I created a new layer and set it to "Multiply", which allows the original painting layer to remain intact/show through while adding color.  I then put down the flat colors to begin colorizing the painting.

STEP THREE:  I started putting in more highlights and shadows.  I also did some corrections to the picture, as well as adding the gun shot (which seems a little bright, now that I look at it again.  Oh, well...)

STEP FOUR:  The painting still looked a little flat, so I darkened the edges to add a little more dramatic focus.  I then put in the lettering and sent it off to Anthony's Repaneled Blog.  

  This was done with gouache on Arches Hot Press watercolor paper measuring about 5" x 8" and colorized in PhotoShop.

If I ever find a spare moment, I may have to do a recreation of the entire page in the future.  It is just that crazy/weird/fun!  Here's the page:

Highlights of the page include: 
  • Batman peeking around a door to check on a sleeping woman in a semi-creepy fashion.
  • Batman melting down a silver statue with a **CANDLE** (maybe an oil lamp or bunsen burner?) to make silver bullets.  Considering the melting point of silver is a little over 1,700 degrees F (over 960 degrees C), bunsen burners--let alone candles and oil lamps--generally don't get hot enough to melt silver.  Here's an interesting article about someone who tried to cast silver bullets...
  • Silver bullets killing vampire? Werewolves, sure. Vampires? That was a new one on me.  [A little research on the internet shows that apparently they can--it's a little archaic, but it was believed to kill vampires. I guess that's why he's The God Damn Batman and I'm just a doofus posting pictures on the Internets.]
  • Batman methodically walking through a crypt and shooting the lead vampire in the face.  Again, let me repeat that for emphasis: BATMAN SHOOTING A VAMPIRE IN THE FACE!
  • Batman getting the girl at the end, only to fly off to the next adventure in the next panel. 

 Fun stuff!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Halvin and Cobbes - 90's Comics Redux

I still have several things I am finishing but, once again, I wanted to be able to post something until they are ready to go up on the blog.  I stumbled across some old stuff I had laying around and thought this was mildly amusing enough to post.

(Click on the cartoon to Embiggen) 

This was a cartoon I did wwwwaaayyyyyy back in 1993 (holy crap!  Where does the time go?) as a submission for "The Comics Buyers' Guide" back when it was a weekly newspaper, rather than the current monthly magazine.  Sadly, it wasn't published.  [I did have a few other cartoons published in the CBG which I called "Dyspepsia of the Mind", and even got to do a Guest Editorial for them about collector mentality gone wrong.  Maybe I'll post those someday, as well...]

In the early 90's, ultra-violent anti-heroes and all manner of cover gimmicks (multiple-covers, holographic covers, glow-in-the-dark covers...) were going from occasional happenings to almost seeming to become the norm.  Plot and story were replaced with gritting teeth, constipated expressions, and foil-embossed covers... Well, sorta like now, I suppose, for the most part.  The more things change, the more they stay the same, I guess.

Oh, and the reference to "JSA" was the delightful 1992 "Justice Society of America" run from Len Strazewski and the late Mike Parobeck (gone too soon).  I suppose I should also say "Calvin and Hobbes" was one of the BEST comic strips out there and still remains one of my all-time favorites.

Hope you like it!  It's almost 20 years old, but seems almost as applicable today, sadly.  :-)

Pen and Ink on 8-1/2" x 14" bristol board (colored digitally)