Friday, June 5, 2009

BATMAN! - Steps & Missteps

Today we have the Dark Knight. Batman was commissioned by Brian, who has a serious obsession with Gotham and all of it's inhabitants. :) This was done in ink and color pencils on an 11" x 17" sheet of Canson Mi-Teintes paper. Thanks Brian, it's always a pleasure to visit Gotham City with you!
I think I have covered the steps before, but maybe not with photos. Below is the finished inked artwork, before I started in with the color pencils. I wanted a sense of urgency in the pose that I would strengthen with the environment as I worked. With the color pencils I am establishing the areas that are both darker and lighter than the paper itself. I decided early on that I wanted to have two light sources that are not in the image. Batman is on a rainy street and I thought some light from some neon signs behind/above him would be reflecting off his body and the rain slick asphalt. So the greens and purple/reds are mixed in. Rain was done with a ruler and two different colors of pencil and ink. I bumped up the ripples with ink as a last step.
Those were the steps for the final art, now for the missteps. Sometimes things don't go smoothly. When that happens I try to work through it. Sometimes the best work comes from getting lost and finding your way through the mess. This time it wasn't so drastic. My initial idea was inspired by the BATMAN tv show opening credits but modernized. So I drew the top left pose real rough. After I tightened it I transfered it to the Canson paper then inked it. While I liked the rough, the finished inks lacked something. So I redrew the image, thinking the drawing was the problem (bottom left), transfered to another sheet of Canson paper, inked it and again, I wasn't happy with it. Third time is the charm. I gave up on the pose and came up with something new.
I guess the point here is work though the problems as much as possible. You might not get it to work but you will probably learn from it. I did. :)


John said...

That's a nice one, Gene...and thx for sharing the step-by-step...always nice to see the process!

I feel your pain in doing commissions that in "your" head fall short and redo them. I had one I re-did 4 times b4 I got what I wanted on the 5th try! And I was really becoming frustrated...however I did work thru it! :D

Look like you're working on the more textured side of the canson paper now? I like it, as the paper helps with the tones, IMO.

That "Big Pitt" brush looks fun...can't find them local...looks like I'm going to have to order some...but that's OK...most stuff I have to order anyway!

Gary M. Peiffer said...

The "TV" pose reminds me a bit of how Art Adams lays out some of his work.

For the white lines on the dark paper, was that a colored pencil?

So much going on just to make these pieces!

Have a good weekend!


Brian Jones said...

Awesome job Gene! Love the color touches in the rain to give that reflected light effect. Great choice on the pose its like he just swooped down and is ready to go! The Batman makes a nice compaion piece to the canson Catwoman you did. Thanks for knocking another one out of the park, this is with out a doubt one of my favorites that you have done for me.

Gene Gonzales said...

Thanks John. Sometimes they get away from you. That's to make up for the ones that come soooo easy, I guess. You're right, I used the more textured side this time. I wanted that extra coarse look to the piece. The Big Pitt brush is fun, you gotta try them.

Hey Gary, I can see that. Art did the iconic Wolverine running forward, didn't he? I was shooting for the opening credits of Batman where he and Robin are running toward the viewer. Ah well. Sometimes the pieces come easier. But this does show there is considerable more time invested than an inked pin-up on white bristol board. Enjoy your weekend too!

Thank you Brian. I'm glad you like it. Until your friend Erica, who is getting a Canson Huntress piece, I think you were the only one taking me into Gotham. :)

Royce Thrower said...

Rather than reiterate the others' comments, i will just add that the mood to this piece is top notch!!

Neither Rain nor snow...etc.

Gene Gonzales said...

Thanks Royce!

Algarys. said...

I LOVE seeing works in progress.
That's just great, I don't know what to say more, I'm just admiring the technique *.*

I'll have to study the way you do the water effects on the ground ! :D

Craig Zablo said...


You really rocked the Batman. Love it all, especially the color reflection in the water on the ground. Excellent, excellent, excellent.