Sunday, January 24, 2010

Darkseid - Lord of Apokolips


This one was a lot of fun to work on. I was asked to draw an image of Darkseid (a great comic book villain created by Jack Kirby) for a commissioned painting, and I decided to go for a big wide-angle close-up. After I thumbnailed it, I decided to paint the final for it really big, on a 22 inch piece of board so that I could get loose and have fun with the backgrounds. It was a delight to paint larger again, after months of working on smaller pieces and the whole process was quick and highly enjoyable. The painting was so big it wouldn't even fit on my large-format scanner, so I had to scan it in pieces and patch it back together to post here.

Incidentally, drawing the background for this piece reminded me of growing up in Hamilton, Ontario in the 80's. Back then Hamilton had 2 giant steel companies working full time, so I was used to seeing raging fires light up the night sky. It was always an awesome sight.


The final art was painted in gouache and ink, so it needed no photoshop cleanup. If you're interested in seeing the prep sketches for it, you can check them out below:

Here's my quick 10 minute colour thumbnail, which gave me the idea to paint it up nice and wide:

This is the pencil sketch for the piece, drawn at about 60% of painted size. I kept the background buildings and flying figures as just simple outlines, since I wanted to stay loose and do most of the "real" drawing in ink:

26 comments:

Jason Chalker said...

Oh man, that's sweet! I love the wide-angle. Very cool.

Shannon Coffey said...

Really nice. In my RSS reader those demons in jetpacks looked like jet-fighters streaking over.

For sure this would be the "Darkseid turns to camera" moment, screen goes black, then our protagonist snaps awake from his nightmare of the future. Excellent.

Ev said...

I love it!

Owen said...

This came out brilliantly. The slight highlights of the dark flat-red near the highlights are perfect.

Arkonbey said...

The background seems looser than your other pieces. It really works for the degradation and horror of Apokolips.

Matthew said...

Fantastic Michael. You and those New Gods are a good match.

pete ryan said...

very cool

Swands said...

awesome!

Luc said...

Stop being so damn good!! :) Love it! Great job as usual.

MilkManX said...

I love it! You gonna sell prints?

Dav said...

That's pretty funny that Apokolips reminds you of Hamilton. Having lived there for a few years (Hamilton, not Apokolips), I can't really disagree.

On my first day in town, driving through the industrial area I saw a tower with flame shooting out the top. I remember laughing out loud at how over the top it was - like someone was trying too hard to create an industrial wasteland look.

Ras Yeti said...

Dynamite!

malpertuis said...

LUSH!!!

Michael Cho said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

Shannon: nice - you must be a screenwriter. I kinda pictured this as the "Darkseid turns to the viewer and gives him the evil eye" moment.

Arkonbey: yeah, I was trying to keep it loose - lately I was in a bit of a drawing funk and to get out of it, I just decided to work looser and have more fun with final art.

Matthew: thanks - I love the New Gods - it's my favourite Kirby series.

Dav: hahahaha! That's funny. I grew up in Hamilton, so it never struck me as "trying too hard" -- it was definitely amazing to live on the escarpment and look down on two giant fires lighting up the sky every night.

Tyler said...

Wow, gouache, oldschool. Nice work.

It looks like it was inspired by some of those old KMFDM covers designed by BRUTE!.

aintshakespeare said...

Really cool.

Gerry said...

just stunning !!

Blake Himsl Hunter said...

wow!!!!!

Adam said...

Great piece Michael, it is a thing of beauty. Love the wide panel too, keep at it!!

Tim Baron said...

This is stunning. One of my favorites of your work. Beautiful execution!

Paul Conrad said...

Oh man! Awesome as always.

Ciaran said...

Perfect in so many ways, even better than the Christmas card rendition of Darkseid! I think Shannon's early comment captures it spot on, with the "Darkseid turns to camera" moment.

Chris Wahl said...

Great work, Michael! I'm guilty of not stopping by here as often as I should.

Your latest piece reminds me how much I want to create a 'Kirby Crackle' brush for Photoshop. I've tried i the past and it's tougher than I thought.

Eric Orchard said...

Wow!Awesome, love the dark atmosphere.

Michael Cho said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, everyone. I'm flattered you liked the piece.

Tyler: I get that a lot, particularly whenever I use red. I'm actually not very familiar with those covers, though.

Chris: Maaaaaan, if you ever make that brush, let me know. I downloaded some of the other brushes you made, and they've been quite useful from time to time (I work very little digitally these days).

Munchanka said...

Awesome. If this was a movie poster, I'd slap down $15 for an imax ticket.