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!