Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Avengers + Ashley Wood (mini update)

If you're on the internet right now, then surely you know it is Election Day in America. Who we elect to office doesn't just affect our country; our actions have repercussions around the world.

If you are eligible to vote today, then please make it your business to go out and do so. Objecting to a bipartisan system is, in my mind, no excuse for not exercising your right to vote. There are other candidates to vote for. Not voting isn't sending anyone any messages.

Our system may be broken, but it's what we have to work within right now. So please go out and make your voices heard.

I'll be updating with a proper design later in the week. For now, here is a concept sketch for the Scarlet Witch.

Enjoy, and happy voting!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Avengers + Ashley Wood

This week's challenge:
I think it's been a little over a week!

Anyway, this challenge is a bit intimidating for me, because it involves one of my absolute favorite artists, Ashley Wood! I'm really anxious to see if I can pull this one off.

The Avengers have always seemed like Marvel's answer to the JLA, at least in my mind. The roster has been pretty fluid throughout the organization's existence, but The Avengers boast a membership comprised of some of the most iconic superheroes in the world.

Ashley Wood is an Australian artist who has established a career for himself in both the fine art and pop culture worlds. He has bold, exaggerated character design, and his work always has a fantastic energy to it. His palettes tend to consist heavily of ocher, sienna, and blue. A lot of women and robots are featured in his work (in fact, he recently completed a new limited series of Tank Girl called Tank Girl: The Gifting). This should give you a pretty good idea of who I might be featuring in the upcoming challenge ;)

I'm pretty excited about this, but just in case I botch this up completely, I'd like to apologize to Mr. Wood ahead of time.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Soul Calibur + Bruce W. Timm (part 4)

This week's challenge concluded:

Last, but not least, The Heart and Soul Girl; Seong Mi-na!

Mi-na was the first character I chose when I played Soul Blade years ago. She has the same combination of liveliness and a strong will that attracts me to characters like Kitty Pryde and her ilk.

This design pieces together different aspects of her various incarnations. She always has a vibrant, spring-like palette, but I whittled it down to the colors I saw used most consistently.

As the final design in the series, I tried to perfect my Timm style with Mi-na. I'm not 100% satisfied, but I do think I came a long way from Taki!

Look for the next challenge to be announced soon!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Soul Calibur + Bruce W. Timm (part 3)

This week's challenge continued...

The Greek hero, Sophitia!

Sophitia was always one of my favorites in the series. She starts off as a baker's daughter, until one day she receives a calling from Hephaestus to destroy the evil sword, Soul Edge. I think this simpler, pared down design nicely reflects on her humble beginnings. I went with the leather boots instead of sandals because they look a little more like something a superhero would wear to me (and I tend to associate Timm with superheroes).

I feel like overall this is a much more successful design than Taki, in terms of the simplification and adhering to Timm's drawing style. More still to come!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Soul Calibur + Bruce W. Timm (part 2)

This week's challenge continued...

Let's start with deadly ninja, Taki!

The thing that really strikes me about Timm's work is his beautiful line quality. I really tried to bring his fluid line variation into play here.

I think Taki as a design works best when she's clean. Not a lot of armor or netting or detail. I'm not sure I streamlined the body enough to pass for Timm, but I'm pleased with the face. More to come!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Soul Calibur + Bruce W. Timm

This week's challenge:

Let's keep this blog moving!!

This week I had a really hard time coming up with a combination. I finally decided (after much help from my very patient twin, Lauren) that I wanted to do something in the style of Bruce Timm. Timm is a master at simplifying designs and making them sleek and animation-ready. So I wanted to take some characters that have slightly more complicated designs and see if I could channel Timm's magic.

I've been a fan of the Soul Calibur games since Soul Blade came out on Playstation. As the series evolved, technological advances have allowed for more intricate character designs. Even the more scantily clad fighters have lots of little details on whatever clothing they manage.

I am going to try to strip these characters down to the bare essence while still mainting an interesting and individual look!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Battle Chasers + Osamu Tezuka (part 2)

This week's challenge continued...

Here's Gully, the pint-sized Juggernaut!

I really loved Gully's character. The juxtaposition of small and mighty is always a fun one, plus it was refreshing to see a young, female hero in the story. Sweet and vulnerable, but still strong. She was the heart of the book.

I have a confession to make: I'm not actually all that familiar with Tezuka's work. Oh, sure, I've done a lot of research, and naturally I've been exposed to it, but the only two Tezuka films I ever saw were Legend of the Forest, and Unico (the latter when I was very, very young). As for his manga, well...I'm afraid I've been remiss with those as well. Still, I've gotten a fairly good idea of his style and tastes, and based on those I would have to say that Gully would translate nicely into the Tezuka world.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I'm really sorry about the lack of updates recently. I was actually out of the country and I thought I would be able to update while I was away, but that turned out to be unrealistic. The Design Challenge will be back on schedule this week :)

As an apology, I'm posting some of the sketches from the finished pieces you've seen so far! I hope you enjoy them!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Battle Chasers + Osamu Tezuka

This week's challenge...

During the Lobdell/Madureira run on Uncanny X-Men in the 90's, Joe Mad acquired an enormous and enthusiastic fan-base, including yours truly. Oh, I was wrapped around his little finger. So naturally, after Madureira left the series and started his own, I was enthralled. Battle Chasers is something of a wonder. It only made it to issue #9, and even at that it was a bumpy road. Still, I think if issue #10 came out tomorrow, it would sell out in seconds. The characters and story were dark and emotional, and they were part of an even bigger, more intricate world. In other words, for a girl who was (at the time) very much into dramatic fantasy anime like Record Of Lodoss War, Battle Chasers was candy. Still it's sad we never got to see any of it develop further.

Osamu Tezuka is known affectionately as the "Father of Anime". His beloved creation Astro Boy (originally "Mighty Atom") has won the hearts of fans for over 40 years. A master of both comic and animation, Tezuka paired mature, thought provoking storytelling with beautiful, childlike characters. His work has gone on to inspire generations upon generations of artists.

If Tezuka had ever produced a Battle Chasers story, I imagine we would have seen something a little purer, something stripped down from the "bigger is better" mentality of 90's American comics; maybe even a little closer to what Madureira had envisioned himself?

A special thanks to friend and super-talent, Zack Giallongo for suggesting Tezuka to me, and for having late night philosophical conversations about comic books.

Excalibur + Gary Baseman (part five)

This week's challenge concluded:

Last but not least, we have Nightcrawler! (Please accept the two additional designs as an apology for running late with updates this week!)

What kid didn't grow up loving Nightcrawler? In fact, part of what drew me to Excalibur in the first place was the fuzzy blue elf. Nightcrawler leading his own X-Team? It seemed too good to be true.

With this design, I briefly toyed with giving Kurt his usual lithe figure. Really, though, "svelte" is not a word I would use to describe Baseman's characters. Considering Baseman's cast is almost entirely comprised of nude females and odd bean-bag shaped creatures, I thought it best to follow suit. Kurt is supposed to somewhat resemble a demon, and in Baseman's world the demons are lumpy, hairy potato sacks. So that's how I drew Nightcrawler! Personally, I think if anyone has the charisma necessary to pull off this look, it's Herr Wagner. ;)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Excalibur + Gary Baseman (part four)

This week's challenge continued...

Here we have Meggan. I have a soft spot for Meggan because she had the most interesting arc in of one of the very first Excaliburs I ever read (this one). Plus, she was co-created by Alan Moore. It doesn't get much better!

Meggan is immensely powerful, but she's also so sweet! With her design, I was toying with making her nude. Nature is such a part of her character, and honestly, most of Baseman's women are painted nude. In the end I decided against it for two reasons: 1., Even though I think the nudity fits Meg as an individual, I couldn't picture her scampering around naked with the rest of the team. (Not for very long, anyway) and 2., I didn't want her to be overly sexualized (even though the pose is not at all erotic). I made up the creature she's interacting with because I have no idea how Baseman would draw a bird.

I have one more surprise lined up for you guys with this challenge, so it's not over yet! I haven't come up with the next challenge, so I'm kind of biding my time. Plus I'm honestly having too much fun with these!

Excalibur + Gary Baseman (part three)

This week's challenge continued...

Next up is one of my very favorite X characters of all time, (though you may see that phrase repeated in the lifespan of this blog) Kitty Pryde! Kitty is just such a fantastic character! She's intelligent, loyal, and just. She's also probably the most relatable X-man, and I daresay she is on par with Peter Parker in terms of a character the fans can really connect with. I have a total girl-crush on her.

I had a lot of fun with this design. I think the slight changes to Kitty's "Shadowcat" outfit make her look just a little bit more like a ninja, which is fitting considering her phasing power and martial arts ability. And of course, where would Kitty go without her trusty pet Lockheed?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Excalibur + Gary Baseman (part two)

This week's challenge continued...

I really wanted to get more done by the end of this week, but I got pulled in for some unexpected (and much appreciated!) freelance work, so I am a little behind. Enough excuses!

Rachel is such a great, tough character. She's passionate and strong-willed. I wanted to make sure her strength was represented here without losing the Cupie Doll-esque look that is so predominant in Baseman's style. So this is what I came up with!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Excalibur + Gary Baseman

This week's challenge:

Excalibur came about in the late 80's as a property that melded the worlds of the X-Men and Captain Britain. Shadowcat, Pheonix, Captain Britain, Meggan, and Nightcrawler banded together and had all sorts of wacky, mystical adventures based off of their new home on Muir Isle. The series has gone through many changes through the years, but the original Chris Claremont and Alan Davis run will always be my favorite. Apart from offering a deliciously different take on the X world, Excalibur featured a varied and powerful female cast. Kitty, Rachel, and Meggan were each wonderfully unique women, and it was great growing up with them as a girl.

Gary Baseman has a "cartoonish", whimsical style...almost childlike in the rendering. His work features distinctive characters and often combines dark and/or disturbing imagery with a super-sugary color palette, kind of like Candy Land on crack. I can't take my eyes away.

This week I won't be announcing the particular characters I plan on drawing, in part because I kind of hope I get around to each of them (but know that won't be the case). It will also be a challenge to make sure that the individuality I love so much about the women in Excalibur comes through in Baseman's style. Here goes nothing!

Batman and Robin + Edward Gorey (part 3)

This week's challenge concluded...

The Batman:

I was toying with two basic directions for Batman here; either put him in the standard leotard, or (something I saw a lot more of in Gorey's art) dress him up in a classy black suit. In the end I decided it would be more interesting to have this particular "costume" be reflective of a rich, aristocratic Bruce Wayne; Batman as a gentleman crime-fighter. It also resembles more closely Gorey's drawings of demons and vampires, things that would inspire fear in the criminals of Gorey's Gotham.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Batman and Robin + Edward Gorey (part 2)

This week's challenge continued...

I admit it; I was more excited about drawing the Boy Wonder this week than I was about drawing Batman. I really thought the classic Dick Grayson character would be a lot of fun to redesign in Gorey's style. This is what I came up with:

This was my first time using actual pencil and ink on bristol in I don't know how long; I work 99% digitally nowadays. But I knew it would be a disservice to Gorey to try and draw in his style without actually putting a pen to paper. If I were truly hard core, I would have used a nib pen!

One of the things I really love about Gorey is the unique look his characters' bodies take on. They're sort of elongated and curvy...they remind me a bit of deflated balloons. I really tried to put that sensibility to work with Robin, here.

Next up is the Dark Knight himself!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Batman and Robin + Edward Gorey

This week's challenge:

This week I will attempt to redesign Batman and Robin in the style of American illustrator and writer Edward Gorey! (The Robin in question will be Dick Grayson, despite Tim Drake being pictured above).

Batman and Robin have been portrayed in many different ways since their inceptions, and Edward Gorey's comically macabre pen and ink illustrations seem like the perfect setting for the dynamic duo.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Disney + Hyung-tae Kim (part 2)

This week's challenge continued...

Design #2: Alice

Enter Alice. I had the actual design specifics worked out in my head pretty early on with Alice, but I was having a hard time pushing the drawing where I thought it needed to go. I wound up cheating a bit with the sketch here, drawing it "normally" at first and then distorting it in Photoshop so that her thighs and torso became elongated and her head was a bit smaller. The effect is, I think, on the right track, but still falls a bit short. If I were to attempt this again, I think I'd have better luck if I didn't use a model.

Thus ends Weekly Design Challenge #1! Was it a success? Who knows! I had fun either way. Look for next week's challenge to be announced on Sunday!

P.S. My apologies to those of you reading the RSS feed while I work out some kinks. I'm still very new to this!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Disney + Hyung-tae Kim

This week's challenge:

Disney Princesses tend to have classically "cute" and slightly "cartoony" builds; dainty hands and feet, tiny waists, large eyes.

Korean artist and designer Hyung-Tae Kim uses exaggerated proportions and elongated figures to create a distinct look. He also has a very distinct, painterly rendering style.

This week I will attempt to redesign Alice from Alice In Wonderland and Jasmine from Aladdin in the Hyung-tae Kim style

Design #1: Jasmine

With Jasmine, here, I thought I did a pretty fair job of duplicating Kim's painting style, less so his drawing style. There's a far subtler distortion of anatomy here than you'd find in one of Kim's designs. The face, I feel, is more accurate than the body as a whole. I had a lot of fun with this one, but I wanted my next design to more fully represent Hyung-Tae Kim's distinct aesthetic.