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Superman at Seventy (6 months late)

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  • Superman at Seventy (6 months late)

    This is a drawing I completed earlier this month, which I consider to be one of my best so far. When I finished the drawing, I thought he looked older than is usually depicted, hence the title. I also tried to show a hint of gray in his hair and eyebrows.

    I scanned the pencil drawing, colored it in Photoshop, created the buildings in Illustrator, and compiled the final (fake) cover in Illustrator.

    I hope you enjoy.

    Last edited by yomark; 12-31-2008, 12:22 AM.

  • #2
    The original pencil (raw scan)


    • #3
      The linework cleaned and intensified, preliminary "airbrushing".


      • #4

        It's not bad, but I think you're getting a little carried away with the line work on Superman's face. The extra hatching/rendering on his cheeks nose and above his eyebrows adds a lot of age to the character, making him look more like Ben Matlock than Clark Kent.

        There are some anatomy issues to be sure. Superman's right shoulder stands out immediately as being incorrect. There are also some proportion problems. Superman's head is far too large for his torso and arms. Foreshortening can be tricky business, and it's often tough to get everything just right, but a good rule of thumb to remember is that the object closest to the viewer or "camera" should always look larger than normal. In this case, Superman's right forearm needs to be bigger, and his right fist should be MUCH larger. Superman's head, on the other hand, should be quite a bit smaller than you've drawn it.

        Here's some photoshop images for you with some notes. Over the last decade I've probably drawn Superman at least a 1000 times in one style or another for kids books. I've drawn him in many animated styles, realistic styles, classic Silver Age style, and even super-deformed/"bigfoot" style. No matter what the style I've worked in, I've noticed that certain facial and body characteristics and physical attributes are almost always prominent. I've tried to list a few things that might be helpful to you on future Superman drawings. Hope this helps you out:

        An important facial feature I forgot to add to the list: SUPERMAN HAS STRONG CHEEKBONES. USUALLY HIGHER UP ON HIS FACE.

        I also wanted to point out that I have a tutorial on how to draw Superman's "S" shield emblem on my LAB TECH board. If you haven't seen that, please check it out. It may help some:

        Happy drawing!

        Last edited by Bruce Lee; 01-03-2009, 02:32 AM.



        • #5
          Sir Wallace:

          I am nominating you for sainthood. All you have to do is provide proof of 2 miracles you've performed, and then I think it's a wrap! (Kidding) Actually, what I mean to convey is : you're awesome! For taking the time out to crit me so thouroughly. I think that, more than anything else is why I am beginning to think of PencilJack as my true home as opposed to DrawingBoard. Busy as you must be, you are truly generous in your tutelage. Thank you!

          Just a note: I actually DID read the tutorial on the Superman emblem. My proportions for the emblem I based on Alex Ross's cover of "Mythology" (maybe I'll have to look at it more closely).
          As to the cape and collar: As I recall, I don't think this drawing started out as Superman specifically, so, as you can see from the evolution of the piece from the pencil to the final, the collar, and even the cape was an afterthought (I added the cape in Illustrator). Also: I thought I MIGHT be able to "get away" with my cape solution, as this is basically how the cape hung on George Reeves on the original B&W TV show (but that might be before your time). I admit that if I had planned it from the begining, I would have rendered closer to how you've noted (also like Alex Ross' example).

          I actually read the Loston Wallace thread all the way through the other night...

          Is there a standard Superman style guide, or are your notes from your own observations?

          Anyway: thanks again for the crit: You have a way of "correcting" without belittling that I really appreciate, which is why I felt comfortable in asking for your crit in the first place. I know others have mentioned the idea of you publishing an instructional book, and I read your reply in your thread...have you considered teaching as a posibility, and maybe that might eventually lead you to the desire to publish?

          And again: Thanks for the attention, St. Wallace (just try it on for size).
          Last edited by yomark; 01-03-2009, 05:28 AM. Reason: Punctuation errors. Additional excuses.


          • #6
            Mostly from my own observations. Growing up, Superman was easy to figure out. He looked like Curt Swan's Superman or Neal Adams Superman, or something within that ballpark. For years in the 1980s DC Comics had a "house look" for their superhero characters. Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez was asked to draw an in-house look and official style guide that artists working for DC could use for character and costume reference, etc. I know that DC still has several "house look" style guides for characters like Batman and Superman for the purpose of licensed products, but I think that with so many stylized artists working in the comic book business today, there isn't really an official or definitive house look for characters anymore, and if there is, it's more of a reference for costumes than a definitive guide line sort of thing. I don't think style is dictated as it once was, but individual editors are certain to have their own personal style preferences, I'm sure.

            Last edited by Bruce Lee; 01-04-2009, 02:58 AM.



            • #7
              Hey yomark

              Well ... there isn't necessarily a lot I can add to what Loston has said ... but there are a few things I could add.

              Firstly ... I would say that your rendering technique is good ... but what I would suggest would be that when you study what Loston did with Supes face you will notice that he didn't add a lot of lines to his face. I have found that ... even though it isn't as big a thing for guys ... a lot of lines on the face add considerable age ... and that isn't a usual hing for Supes. He rarely really looks old.

              Secondly ... I would love to see your gestures for a drawing like this. I have found that when you work on a drawing ... it is good to have a solid gesture ... and then build up the shapes (the cylinders, spheres, etc...). I think it would help you with your foreshortening.

              I would love to see more work from you yomark ... you have the eye.

              P.S. I am going to be listing some of my anatomy references in my sketchblog ... I meant to do it tonight ... but runnin out of time. Tomorrow I hope.
              "The next time I let Superman take charge, just hit me REAL hard" -Batman
              The only person I need to out draw is myself!


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