Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Aquarian


Here is the original entry for the Aquarian to the "Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe".  

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And here is my entry to the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Redux.  

This one was a bit of a cheat for me.  I actually submitted a story idea to Marvel Comics for an Aquarian One-Shot about 15 years ago using pretty much this redesign of the character.  Sad, but true--with the sad part being that of all the characters in the Marvel Universe, I picked the Aquarian, of course.  :-D

I don't know why, but the character somehow captured my imagination.  The story involved Wundarr/Aquarian getting a Cosmic Cube and deciding to give humanity enlightenment--whether it wanted it or not.  It was going to be part action-adventure/part deep, philosophical treatise about the nature humanity...  Well, stuff that strikes you as philosophically deep when you're in your mid-twenties (but, probably isn't).  It had references to Wundarr/Aquarian selling his life-story to a comic book company, involved Ben Grimm of the Fantastic Four, and the death of Disco music.  

Needless to say, it was rejected.  :-)

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Here's the part where I usually say "Here's the process of those who are interested"... but, this time there really isn't much involved in the process.  This is the first picture I did as digital from start-to-finish and forgot to do screen shots of the steps along the way until it was mostly done.  

But, just so I'm not leaving anyone empty-handed, I created a new document in PhotoShop that was 1,500 x 2,500 pixels, and then started working in black-and-white to lay down values, first.  I used a chalk-based brush which I found left an interesting texture.  (I have no idea if I got it from one of the DVD's from the many issues of "ImagineFX Magazine" I have, or if it was a free one I found on the internet.  Sorry!)  

When I was finished with the black-and-white digital drawing, I created a new MULTIPLY LAYER and set to colorizing the work.  Lastly, I added a glow to the Cosmic Cube and called it DONE!

Now that I look at it, though, I think I like the black-and-white version of the picture more than the colorized version. Sigh...

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This was done digitally in PhotoShop.


Friday, December 14, 2012

DC Special #29 - Cover Replica

DC Special #29

Here is the original cover by Neal Adams.

Well, I **FINALLY** finished this GIANT cover re-creation for my pal, Jim, from Jimmy Jams.  I've been working on this thing for far too long--it's been yet another albatross around my neck for the past few months.  Mostly, I'm just glad to have this off my easel.  Now I can FINALLY get around to finishing up a few other projects I've had to set aside to get this thing done.  :-)

One reason this cover (which was one of Jim's favorites from his childhood) took so long is that it is just crazy: You've got Hitler, Nazi atom bombs, Valkyrie mounted on flying horses, the Atom punching out one of the horses, and just so much more.  To me, this cover is just a crowded mess.  But, oh, well.  Sometimes, there's no accounting for taste.  :-)

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STEP ONE:  I glued a sheet of (140#) Stonehenge paper, which is 100% cotton, to a 20" x 30" (that's 50.8cm x 76.2cm to those of you who use the Metric System) sheet of hard board/medium density fiberboard.  I then used a mixture of gesso and size (glue) to serve as a ground to the painting.  I then gridded out the drawing and drew in the larger parts of the picture.

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STEP TWO:  Using acrylic paint, I began to lay in large swaths of color.  Trying to match all the various gradients in the background is also a real pain in the butt.

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STEP THREE:  After adding a bit more paint, I began lettering.  Bleh, I **HATE** lettering... it always takes me so long to get it done and it still only looks half-assed.

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STEP FOUR:  Well, after countless hours, here is the finished, ginormous re-creation of the cover.  After I finished all the under-coloring for figures and lettering, I did all the linework over top.  Once done, I sprayed it with a varnish and UV protectant and took it in to Jim.  

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This was done with acrylic paint on 20" x 30" gessoed Stonehenge paper glued to hardboard.