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Thread: DRAWING SUPERMAN'S "S" EMBLEM in 10 Steps.

  1. #1
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    DRAWING SUPERMAN'S "S" EMBLEM in 10 Steps.

    I've noticed often that so many artists on PJ (and other online art boards) don't seem to understand how to draw Superman's "S" symbol. It's actually pretty understandable, because it's very stylized. It's deceptive though. It isn't really that difficult if you've drawn it a few times, but if you haven't, you might find it a challenge. I've drawn the "S" symbol many times in my career, having worked on many Superman and Superman related books for DC's licensing department, so I figured that I would share some knowledge, and prepare this simple tutorial, breaking things down in some sort of easy to follow formula that might be useful. I hope it will benefit anyone who has previously had difficulties drawing the "S"-shield.

    Creating A Formula

    First, allow me to state that I always just freehand the "S" emblem. I don't use a particular formula to draw it because I've drawn it since I was 4 years old, copycatting how it was being drawn in the comics and films for about three decades. Having opportunity to work on Superman projects, and being privy to style guides and model sheets hasn't hurt either. To try to pass on some info to those of you who are interested, I've devised this small tutorial, breaking things down for you guys using the square box method.

    FIGURE # 1: You start off by drawing a square, and then splitting it into four equal parts.

    FIGURE # 2: I find it's easy to get divide of the four-way split even by running lines diagonally from the corners, thus locating the center of the square. This step isn't necessary, but it can be helpful.

    FIGURE # 3: At this point you should have your square divided into four sections (plus or minus the "X" used to locate the center). The next thing you should do is split the top two squares in half, horizontally as depicted. This horizontal line will be the guideline for the top of the diamond shaped shield of the "S" emblem.

    FIGURE # 4: Again, we're going to involve the two upper boxes. Starting at the lower left corner of the upper left top box, draw diagonal line running from the lower left corner to the midway point of the top of the box (See Figure 4).

    Now you want to do the same thing for the upper righthand box. This time you start at the lower right corner, and then draw a diagonal line to the midway point of the top of the box (See Figure 4 ).


    FIGURE # 5: You have now set the upper guidelines for Superman's shield emblem, so let's start drawing the shield:
    Starting from the center most point at the bottom of the 4-way box you've created, draw a diagonal line to the center most point of the left side of the 4-way box. From there, you will follow the diagonal lines established from Figure # 4 until you get to the horizontal guide line you drew in figure # 2. You will follow the horizon line to form the top of the shield, and then follow your right diagonal line downward (see figure # 5). Finally, you bring the line down from the right most mid-point diagonally down to the bottom most mid-point. Confused? Well, check out FIGURE # 4 if you get lost. It's all layed out there for you.

    FIGURE # 6: You must now draw in the inside lines of the shield. This, you have to guesstimate, but the image of FIGURE # 6 should make things easy for you.

    FIGURES # 7 - 10: From here on out, the images should be enough to walk you through it. Hope this proves helpful!



    Loston
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ugga Bugga
    Loston,

    do you have any tips on foreshortening the thing? (I learned a new word recently, and wanted to use it in a sentence)

    -and no Ama, the new word isn't "tips"
    Well, if you can draw a square in perspective, then you shouldn't have any trouble duplicating this "S" emblem in perspective. The same steps apply, you just have to re-evaluate your proportional distance, but that's why you bother to divide your square into quarters and all that...the grid-work serves to give you points of reference to help you judge distance and space. Here's a few images of the "S" (with the 4-corner grid-work included) in perspective. If you can draw a square in perspective, and judge distance using the help of the points of reference provided by the 4-way square split, then it shouldn't be all that much of a problem. Naturally, when the "S" is drawn on Superman's chest, you must also allow for the rounding contour of the Man of Steel's chest. Figuring that out isn't too tough, if you understand anatomy well enough.


    Last edited by Bruce Lee; 01-29-2008 at 03:56 PM.
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  2. #2
    OH MY GOD!

    I am not joking, here, when I say, doing this logo is the most difficult thing for me to do.

    I avoid drawing any of the "super" characters because of this logo alone!

    Thank you SO MUCH for the tutorial!

    Rep points are headed you're way!

  3. #3
    [SUPPORTER] Bruce Lee's Avatar
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    Glad it was helpful, Craig.

    Loston
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    Elite DBZ Fan NickRocks's Avatar
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    ive always taken a different approach to that s. ill try it your way and see how it goes!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickGuy View Post
    ive always taken a different approach to that s. ill try it your way and see how it goes!
    Well, to be honest and up front about things, I usually just freehand the "S", myself. I never really break it down using the method I've depicted here. This step-by-step breakdown of how to do things was something I came up with in hopes of helping out some folks on PJ who seemed to really have a lot of difficulty drawing Superman's "S" shield. This was my attempt at providing a basic formula that would could make things easier for those taking their first stabs at drawing the shield. This step-by-step should decrease the difficulties involved in regards to drawing Superman's chest emblem.

    My advice is to use this step-by-step to practice getting the details right. Make it a warm-up exercise. Then take away what you've learned from it. You can also use it to double-check things, etc.

    Loston
    Last edited by Bruce Lee; 01-29-2008 at 04:04 PM.
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  6. #6

    Yaaah! The Dreaded S Demystified!

    Hello Loston,

    I was actually talking about this yesterday with my brother. l I asked him do you know what the hardest part about drawing superman is? He said probably the face or the costume but i said it's the S. Everytime that I try drawing it, it looks horrendous. I was about to ask one of my artist friends who is currently out of town if he would have any suggestions but now I guess I don't need to!

    In fact I just kind of mosied on by PJ after such a long time to look up the 1st Thunderbolt competition that someone from a Vancouver sketch group (Canada not Washington--lol) that I recently joined brought to our attention. I thought that the idea was cool and decided to check it out but saw that you were giving tutorials--and lo and behold the dreaded S demystified. I'm stoked and looking forward to trying your method out--Thank you so much!

    Sincerely,

    Samir.

    Last edited by web crawler; 03-30-2008 at 12:47 AM. Reason: found some mistakes in my writing.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by web crawler View Post
    Hello Loston,

    I was actually talking about this yesterday with my brother. l I asked him do you know what the hardest part about drawing superman is? He said probably the face or the costume but i said it's the S. Everytime that I try drawing it, it looks horrendous. I was about to ask one of my artist friends who is currently out of town if he would have any suggestions but now I guess I don't need to!

    In fact I just kind of mosied on by PJ after such a long time to look up the 1st Thunderbolt competition that someone from a Vancouver sketch group (Canada not Washington--lol) that I recently joined brought to our attention. I thought that the idea was cool and decided to check it out but saw that you were giving tutorials--and lo and behold the dreaded S demystified. I'm stoked and looking forward to trying your method out--Thank you so much!

    Sincerely,

    Samir.

    I'm glad I could help, Samir.

    Loston
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  8. #8
    That's a pretty neat tutorial. I've always drawn the emblem by starting with the diamond shape and then drawing the negative space around the "S."

    --jjb!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by fraggaboom View Post
    That's a pretty neat tutorial. I've always drawn the emblem by starting with the diamond shape and then drawing the negative space around the "S."

    --jjb!
    Nothing wrong with using any method that works, fraggaboom. As I mentioned in the tutorial, I don't actually draw out the box and do the gridding myself. Basically I draw a diamond shape, then another smaller diamond shape inside of that, then freehand the rest most of the time. Since most of the time I'm transferring my roughs onto board anyway, I'll sometimes just draw in the diamond shape with a fat sharpie, then draw in the "S", creating the emblem in silhouette. Here's an old rough prelim that's a good example of that. This from a SUPERMAN coloring/activity book I drew a few years back, this particular piece being an homage to the cover of SUPERMAN #1:



    Here's another rough layout from the same book, where I used the sharpie method in the preliminary rough stage:



    Anyway, this tutorial was created specifically to help those who have a problem freehanding it and/or who aren't familiar with the basic construction of the shapes involved. To some, drawing the "S" emblem is a piece of cake, but some people have trouble with it--even professional comic artists sometimes. Hopefully this tut has helped some people here on PJ.

    Loston
    Last edited by Bruce Lee; 04-02-2008 at 12:51 PM.
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  10. #10
    wow i think i can now draw the symbol! thank youuuuuuuuu

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