While I don’t have a lot of time in the next week or so to get to all the questions that eagerly await me here (due to the madness that is known as San Diego Comic-Con), I thought the least I could do is leave you cats with a bunch of installments of CUP O’ DOODLES because I know how bad withdrawals can be when going cold turkey off of CUP O’ JOE.
These next few installments are going to focus on the work I did creating art for Hasbro’s Invaders set that they’ll be showing off at the con. The 70th Anniversary Invaders four-pack will be on sale starting Wednesday at the Hasbro Toy Shop booth at SDCC. Okay Axis! Here we come!
While offering some unique challenges, these were a blast to do. Let me also give thanks to Alex Lopergolo from Hasbro, whose assistance with this project helped make the entire process a fantastic one.
The first hurdle to cross was the template. Because these boxes were designed with a particular shape in mind, the goal for me was to try to create a compelling piece of art that would fit within the designated area. That area being the upper left blank portion. Keep in mind that the area shaded in gray was live and everything else would most likely get cropped off.
Namor was the first character I decided to tackle. I did numerous digital sketches until I landed on something that I felt worked well. This particular sketch, while okay, cropped his arms in ways I really didn’t care for. Keep in mind that what I was shooting for was a drawing that worked on the packaging, but also worked as a solo piece of illustration afterwards.
Nearly the same as the previous sketch, but with Namor’s head turned to a more snubbing type of attitude. Aside from not working, one thing I realized I would have to do once I landed on something I liked would be to bulk up Namor’s physique, as I was currently drawing him too skinny.
Here I was trying to cut corners, using the same body but altering the arms and head. Still rather weak and not very engaging.
Here I felt like I was onto something. My problem was the angle of Namor’s arms and hands. I wanted more foreshortening so that I could breach the gap between the top of his head and where his hands were placed. I was struggling to nail this down so that it looked convincing, I knew what I wanted, but sometimes the brain, eye and hand don’t want to cooperate.
So, when all else fails, use reference. A quick shot from the web cam on my computer and I had exactly what I needed.
This sketch was now starting to make sense to me and was sitting better on the packaging.
I took what I had and started to work out the anatomy and began to bulk him up considerably. One thing to note, I deliberately used very little shading on these pieces because as packaging, I wanted them to be colorful and stand out in the stores. The more black you use, the more you lessen that effect. So, with respect to Namor, you should see that there was no real hard light source.
Here’s the final pencil art. As you can see, I trimmed down his pecs and biceps as they were a bit off in the final sketch.
Danny Miki’s inks, kneel before them!
And of course, nothing is complete without the mad Frenchman, Richard Isanove making it look all purdy.
THE HUMAN TORCH
The Human Torch design came a bit easier to me. After all the preliminary work I did on Namor, I started to get the hand of what would work and what wouldn’t. This was my one and only sketch for this particular box. It seemed to work well, and Hasbro was digging it.
Once I received approval, I went to a detailed digital sketch. I reworked the hand and most importantly, I turned his head so that he was looking right at the viewer. You’ll hear me talk more and more about this as we do more and more of these CODs.
Now it was off to final pencils. This one was a blast to do because the Torch isn’t a character I get to draw too often. I had a lot of fun rendering the flames in a bit more of that old school style. One of Hasbro’s important notes about this piece was that while the classic Human Torch had very little definition about his face, they wanted me to go a bit off model and to give him discernable features while trying to still keep the feel of the ‘40s version.
And of course, Danny’s inks. Take a good look at this as this piece clearly demonstrates how he makes me look like a much better artist than I could ever be.