Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Thanks to Lyn who had saved all the progress stages I mailed out. She kindly mailed them all back to me so I can take you through step by step.

The brief was for an athletic woman who uses an ancient amulet to fight crime as a costumed vigilante.

Lyn was quite specific about a pose - 3/4 pose of her with her hands up in some sort of martial arts pose. You can see that we went for C (which was my favourite):

Once we had the pose I then had to look at what this character looked like! Up til now I had been drawing pre-established characters. Now I had to go in and actually create a character's costume.

My inspirations were Daredevil and White Tiger. Lyn also directed me towards The Maiden from Aspen comics which had been the look that Lyn had been previously using.

Both Lyn and I wanted to acknowledge what had been established but personalize it for The Cat. I wanted a costume that was unique to her. The tough thing was to also stay away from the design sense of the White tiger. I decided to go with different lines.

I began with the mask. Lyn wanted something like the ninja turtles. My sensibility for costume design is to approach it the way it would look if it was a movie. A band around the eyes simply wouldn't work visually or practically. So I designed a face mask with eye slits (unfortunately) reminiscent of Halle Berry's Catwoman.

I never want things to look like a photo though. I like stylised over the top elements. So I drew the ends of the mask entwining around her billowing hair in an impossible dance.

Working down, her symbol is an Ankh. I initially had it strapped down with loops in order to stop it from flinging into her face, but Lyn wanted it to be easily removable so I removed the loops. I then started playing with crazy lines all over her. I was riffing off costumes like the X-men and Daredevil from their respective movies. I also came up with The Cat symbol on her chest and where her belt buckle would be.

Next up I sent Lyn this with the background I wanted: a New York rooftop. These are also known as my colour flats. Large expanses of area that I use to select in order to make more subtle colour and texture selections. You can also see in an earlier version she had a huge hood which both Lyn and I thought didn't work for her.

The purpose of this stage was to show Lyn what was skin and what was flesh. I also pointed out the brass knuckles on her hands. Normally Iwouldn't send this stage out, but given we were designing a new costume, I thought it would be prudent to get Lyn's opinion here.

Here's the final piece. The next thing I wanted to do was to start playing with textures unfamiliar to the classic movie superheroes we'd seen. Lyn stressed how sexy and cute this girl was, so I went for the standard pvc and piping. But the real inspiration came when I decided to include semi-transparent sports netting on certain panels. I showed Lyn and she loved it!

I think it makes her ridiculously sexy and she looks like a cross between a fetish goddess and a superhero.

As an aside, the breasts are HUGE here again. Look at the black and white line work. Lyn kept wanting me to make them bigger and bigger and so I reluctantly did (originally they were quite modest). And just like on the Gaia piece, Lyn was a little stunned by how big they looked when they were finally rendered. As such, I tend to not send the linework stage out anymore. I push straight through to the tones so you can see what I see.

A subtle yellow glow from her left helped merge her with the street lights from the background. Light airbrushing created a moonlit effect.

The Cat was a bucket of fun. I really felt like I did something innovative here.


I've been sitting inside drawing commissions all the time. So I haven't really got out much. Aragorn and Arwen and Storm are coming up.

I did join a Capoeira school today. It's a more aggressive, dynamic counter-attack based style which I love. In fact, I wish I'd studied it before the style I did. It's so much more my style of fighting and moving. The mestre is a similar build to me (long and lean) so it makes it easier for me to physically model off him, rather than the short solid guy I initially worked with. The session was awesome and I was amazed how much came back to me (I did it for 3 years about 5 years ago). Mestre Israel and his advanced students have some of the best and sharpest kicks I've seen in ages. I want those kicks! Mine are good, but they are incredible!

The only thing that intimidates me about Capoeira is the musical side. I did used to be a profesional dancer, but I'm not a musician. I have zero interest in learning how to play an instrument or sing.

Off to bed (I'm wrecked) and then off to the British Museum tomorrow! More photos tomorrow.

RIP Heath. =(

No comments: