Thursday, December 11, 2008

Death and the Hiro

Well, maybe my HEROES comic will be up next week? I haven't had the time nor inclination to investigate what happened. I'm sure it will get printed when they're ready. I'm really curious to see what everyone thinks. Maybe next week?

But how good was the Zach Craley/Peter Steigerwald story? That guy is an incredible artist and Zach crafted such a great story.


Earlier this year I was doing commissions. This may have been one of the last I did before I got swamped with deadlines. It was for Matt Siu from New Zealand who runs under the handle of Ironyman.

It was a really fun project and I was drawn to the conflicting yet complimentary subject matter. I hadn't drawn Death in a looo-ong time and I wanted to draw something definitive for myself.


Here was his brief for me:

"The head / head and shoulders is Hiro in profile. Again, I think Season 1 slightly geeky Hiro with glasses. He's not necessarily angry, but looks that way as he's running at an enemy, yelling (kiai). Of course he's holding his sword, which is positioned slightly behind his head, and is vertical (or pretty close). You can probably see a little bit of the hilt and handle. However, the sword is very close to the viewer, so you can fit a reflected figure of Vertigo Death on the blade. She could be blowing a kiss, she could be just standing there."

Based on his brief I came up with layouts A, B and C (above). My thoughts were that Hiro should be flowing naturally with the way that we read, from left to right.

Matt then picked A because it had the best shot of Death and I developed it again into sketch D which you can see on the left here.

So here is Hiro without his toning. This is the basic line art that I draw before I go in and draw the grey layer. My line work is simple and open and I tend to do most of my work at the grey stage. In fact, it's knowing what I can do best in greys and what I can do best as linework that is my real challenge. If there's any skill I've improved on, it's knowing which... medium the line art or the grey will best create the look that I'm going for.

The width of the sword is especially exaggerated so that we can see Death clearly. Otherwise she would just be some sliver on the page.

I actually drew Death in a separate file and then pasted her in. I wanted her as a separate piece of artwork as I had plans for her. No, not those sort of plans! Get your mind out of the gutter! Seriously people, just a small bit of decorum. If you're wondering what plans I have for her, you will have to scroll down to the bottom. Wait! Don't do that! Stay with me now. It's not going anywhere and there's no rush. That's it, ease that finger off the mouse wheel, take a deep breath and relax. I promise it will still be there when you get to the bottom.

I'm very happy with this Death. She looks cute and she looks like a person, like someone you could meet. Chris Bachalo still draws the best Death. Francis Manapul did an off the chart Death in JAn's sketchbook too. I should get him to scan it and upload it somewhere.

I then did Death's tonal work and added a motion blurred grey background to help sell the sense of movement. I think it gives it a nice, subtle manga feel.

I made sure that the two were lit from the same place (our right) to help create some sort of visual consistency in the image.

Matt had this cute title for the piece and once we played around with fonts and layouts we decided on this.

I also added the blood to help draw our eye to Death, but also inadvertently ended up obscurring her. But again, it helps sell the movement of the image.

Now, remember I said that I had a present for you?

Did you wait? If you were a good little kid and waited well, I've got something for you. Hell, I like it when you're bad, so you can have it anyway.

If you want to see Death in all her glory as a wallpaper for your computer I've uploaded her in my Facebook fan club (you have no idea how weird it is to type the words, "my fan club" - but it actually is kind of awesome). In Facebook do a search for my name and it should come up. Feel free to friend me while you're at it, just write me a short message saying that you know me from my blog or art or whatever. I don't friend complete strangers.


FRIDAY: Hmmm... Something new. I have a bunch of stuff to post between now and Wednesday. Then I will post about my new HEROES story, which should be up then. After that I wanna start chatting about Zero G.


Anonymous said...

Hiro is my favorite of your drawings/paintings for I can feel his emotions and although it's a 'simple' ? piece (as opposed to that Batman on Roof) it says so much! ... and..thanks for the cool wallpaper :)

Alexandre Togeiro said...

Love the step by step progress of the work :) (Are those early sketches in actual pencil or made in the computer?). That piece has a terrific composition and great sense of movement. And Death looks really awesome!