Friday, April 30, 2010

Comic Book Themed Art
"The DEFENDERS" - 2002
web-site banner header artwork


Today's post is the fifth entry in a series of "flashbacks" at some of my old comic book style artwork.

Previous entries into this series are:

  • A series of magazine cover submission samples from 2000- as seen [HERE]
  • An 11-page comic book story from 1993 - of the "Secret Defenders": - as seen [HERE]
  • A 6-page comic book story from 1989 - featuring one of my earliest takes on "Doctor Strange" - [HERE]
  • A diverse set of 7 drawings, in various styles, going all the way back to a drawing by 13-year-old me from 1980 - [HERE]

(see the end of this post for an additional bonus piece to this set.)

Today's post, is different than those others in a few aspects.

First, these are single "panel" images that were designed exclusively for the purpose of being used as banner headers on a web-site (a message board forum).

They also feature some of my earliest attempts to colorize my artwork via Photoshop.

And, for those who are sick of seeing "Doctor Strange", they also feature some other, perhaps more recognizable Marvel heroes; The Incredible Hulk, Namor the Sub-Mariner and the Silver Surfer.
These four characters are (or were) the central characters in a team called "The DEFENDERS".
The web-site for which these banners were created was a message board dedicated to that team, where fans could gather to discuss anything related to that team: their comic, history and assorted characters.

Drawn one image each month - from January to April 2002, (although, each one didn't take more than a weekend from start to finish - from rough sketches to color final) each image tries to tell a brief story scene.
A different character "headlines" in each image, showcasing that character's unique environs in the background (backgrounds which are only revealed in the final color works).

I will show each, the black and white original artwork and then the colorized final images.

Each original is drawn with
black pencil finals over blue pencil sketches on vellum finish bristol board
13 inches wide x 4 inches high

However, each image, when colored, would then be reduced greatly in size, so I tried to keep them only "moderately detailed".

*click pics to enlarge images *


The art was then scanned into my computer, digitized, colorized in Photoshop (not very well, I'll admit) and then reduced to a mere 600 x 200 pixels.

These color versions are not reduced that far in size, so as to better showcase the detail.

*click pics to enlarge images *

Doctor Strange's scene is in a vast other-dimensional realm.

Namor the Sub-Mariner's scene is obviously underwater.
* note, Dr. Strange casting a spell to allow Hulk to breathe underwater *

The Hulk's scene is somewhere in the deserts of the American mid-west.

The Silver Surfer's scene is in a vortex in the center of the cosmos.
* note: Dr. Strange is in his "astral form" *


As with much of my own work, I am torn in my feelings for these images.
I like certain aspects of some while disliking much of the rest of each image.
Each has strengths and weaknesses that relate to my then inexperience in the digital medium, and experimentation with "creative license" of character aspects and likenesses.

When they were originally posted to the web site for which they were created, they were received - as much in the realm of fandom - with either very positive or very negative reviews.

I'm happy to say that most of the feedback I received was very positive.
Certainly, some critiques were made about certain variations in style or what liberties I took in how I drew a character (which may or may not be in keeping with how any particular fan "envisioned" the character), but only a very small number were overtly negative in their overall review.

Still, with these four images I taught myself how to "silhouette" images in Photoshop (for ease of coloring), the use of layers, playing around with settings and effects and took my first steps into producing work digitally.

Not bad, when you think about it.


I came across this sketch in a folder.
It was the rough start to what this series of DEFENDERS banners would become.
So, it seemed appropriate to include it in this post.

blue pencil on regular 8.5 x 11 photocopy paper


That's all for now.

I'll take a step away from the "comic book" themed art for awhile.
We'll change it up and showcase some other styles of work; storyboards, book covers and the like in the next few installments.

I'll come back to comic art soon enough however.
But, I'll try to change it up a bit more often.

Thanks again for stopping by!

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