DC Icon Art: Green Arrow, The Flash, and Superman

Some artists like to draw still life, landscapes or structures–I get a kick out of drawing people, especially pop culture characters. There’s just something about getting a facial expression right or seeing a 2-dimensional face come to life that makes me want to do it over and over again. These days, I’m drawing a lot of comicbook characters and here are three of my recent illustrations, which overall, I’m really satisfied with.

The first one above is Green Arrow, DC’s iconic archer modeled after Robin Hood but who has actually more in common with Batman in that he’s also a crime-fighting billionaire-playboy. Oliver Queen has gathered a huge following since the TV series Arrow premiered and I’m proud to say I’m one of the show’s most hardcore fans. This latest fan art was partially based on Stephen Amell’s Green Arrow but I combined it with a couple of other references to come up with my own unique version.

Above, you’ll notice that I tend to draw the head in a very detailed way compared to the body; that’s because I believe getting the face right is already winning half the battle when you’re drawing people. It’s the face that carries the entire thing. A good face attached to a half-decent body will look good, but a poor face attached to a detailed body won’t be as interesting to look at. Plus, if you’re always drawing in a hurry like I am, you want to make sure that if you quit halfway through, you’ll still have a good portrait even if you dispense with the part from the shoulders down.

It took me around 3 hours to finish this piece but I was very satisfied with the final product. I like using colored pencils in my drawings because I think they give it a retro look, and they take me back to those days when comics, especially the cheap local ones sold in my country, were never really produced squeaky clean. The softness of the texture and hue complements my sharp comicbook style, too, and the effect reminds me of those old worn-out comics, the kind you’ll see on sale in bulk, with their colors mostly washed out and their pages barely intact.

This second one is everyone’s favorite speedster, the fastest man alive–The Flash. The model in this piece is Grant Gustin from the hit TV show but I was drawing hurriedly, so I opted not to copy his face accurately. Plus, I’ll admit that I find it difficult to copy faces from real life to a tee; I can do it but it would take me a long time to get it right line by line, angle by angle. Caricatures are much easier to do but that’s a completely different style and one I’m not really that interested in right now.

Again, you’ll see that I used colored pencils here, which helped define light and shadow, giving it a more three-dimensional look. For anybody interested in what brand of colored pencils I’m using, I use Faber-Castell. I know you can actually use these as watercolor but I’ve never tried that before. And anyway, I can’t apply a wet brush on most of my illustrations because the black ink would get smudged.

Last but not the least–Superman based on the classic Richard Donner-Christopher Reeve version. As big a fan of Supes as I am, I have never really watched the Donner films until very recently. Frankly, I was highly impressed with the way the story just overflowed with heart and how Reeve gave a superb performance both as Clark Kent and the Man of Steel. I immediately whipped out my pen and pencil after the film and started making this piece that I deliberately tried to draw in the style of a movie poster.

I use my iPad to take these photos, so the images sometimes can’t capture the detail. Here’s a collage of zoomed in shots:

And that’s it for this post! How’s your art coming along? 🙂

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