Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Dark Knight Returns

Here's a commissioned painting of Batman and Robin that I finished recently. The more astute comic fans among you might recognize that it's actually a painting of the senior-citizen old Batman and teen-girl Robin from "the Dark Knight Returns" -- a seminal Batman mini-series from the mid 1980's. When I was a teen, that book was probably my favourite super-hero comic, and it still holds up pretty well. I have an old paperback collection of all 4 issues, and when I went to reference it for this painting, I had a chuckle at how dog-eared it had become from multiple readings.

Anyway, I had some fun working on this piece. I've mentioned in the past how uncomfortable I am in drawing Batman, so I used this painting as an opportunity to try and get over that hump. Drawing the Joker, however, is always fun.

The completed painting was done in gouache and ink, and colour corrected in photoshop. You can see the preliminary sketches I did for it below, and compare how I tweaked a few small details the road to the final art. The only major change is that I made Batman beefier and more wide-shouldered than in the pencil sketch -- something that was suggested to me by my pal Steve Manale. When I showed him the drawing, his first reaction was:

"Dude, its Batman - his shoulders should be HUGE!"