Sons of the Bat… Part 3 (of 5)

It’s Friday night before a long weekend. I don’t know what you nerds are doing, but I’m posting a blog about a Batman character. Jealous?

Continuing in order from the previous segment, here’s Tim Drake, AKA Oracle:

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  • Age: Late 20′s
  • When Barbara Gordon returned to action as Batwoman, it only made sense for someone else to take up the mantle of Oracle and provide information and support for the heroes of Gotham. Initially Tim took up the role as a temporary position while injured, but he assumed the role permanently when he realized how well suited he was for the task. Since becoming Oracle, Tim has been working closely with Bruce Wayne and Lucius Fox to research and develop new technologies. Perhaps most notably, Tim was instrumental in the development of the hard light melee weapons. Tim keeps in shape for the occasions where he must return to the streets and rooftops of Gotham. This isn’t a regular event, but it happens often enough that the criminal underworld now fear Oracle’s agility and precision as much as they fear the reach of his intelligence.
  • Tim has had several costumes in both comics and animation that have dropped green out of the design, leaving red as a dominant visual. As stand alone designs, they were fine, but the color red just doesn’t suit Tim in my opinion. Tim is well-adjusted, centered, and cerebral–he’s much more of a green than a red. It’s those same attributes that lead me to assign him the vacant identity of Oracle.
  • The emblem on his chest is very similar to Barbara Gordon’s Oracle symbol, but modified to resemble the “face” that was often found on Batmobiles (and other Bat-vehicles) of the 40′s and 50′s, just as I did with the Red Hood’s emblem.
  • I always thought of Tim as being a little bit more “kung-fu” than the rest of the Batman family, probably because his early adventures and rogue’s gallery featured a lot of DC martial arts characters, so hopefully the costume reflects that.
  • Overall this costume is strongly based on his original Robin outfit, as a reminder that Tim will always be strongly associated with that alter ego, arguably more so than anyone else. While many “mainstream” fans of the Batman franchise will think of Robin as Dick Grayson, I think most actual comic readers think of Tim as Robin, and Dick as Nightwing. But I digress.
  • I purposely excluded visual nods to Tim’s current Red Robin costume–I actually like that costume a lot, but it always felt too reminiscent of Doctor Mid-Nite, and the emblem felt too reminiscent of Hawkman’s.
  • Tim’s signature close combat weapon (a bo staff) is now a hard light construct.

As you can see, I had a little bit more to say about Tim than Dick and Jason. Just around the time that I was really getting into comics, Robin #1 came out, and Tim quickly became one of my favorite characters. I think I followed Robin longer than any other monthly book.

(2 more missed posts to make up. Hopefully I’ll be able to wrap up this series in the next few days and close out that debt! We’ll see…)

Sons of the Bat… Parts 1 and 2 (of 5)

I know, I’ve continued to be bad at updating my blog in a timely manner. However, at least this time I can say that it’s because I was actually drawing and coloring and I didn’t want to stop to write a blog post!

Today I’m presenting the first two parts in a series of re-designs of Batman’s many “sons.”

I’ve been thinking about Batman a lot since I watched The Dark Knight Rises (which I loved). My enjoyment of the movie really just led me down a path of remembering how much I love Batman and his extended ‘family.’ I started doodling Batman characters in my spare time, and it wasn’t too long before I started messing with their look.

My doodles started taking shape when I started to think of them as an assignment for a hypothetical cartoon series. These re-designs imagine a future timeline combining elements from the comic book continuity (pre-New 52) and the Bruce Timm animated universe. For context as to how far in the future this timeline exists–Damian Wayne is in his mid-20s. More on him in a future installment!

For now, let’s kick things off with Dick Grayson, AKA Nightwing:

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  • Age: Late 30′s
  • Dick is the heart of the Batman family. He stepped out of Batman’s shadow with ease and confidence, and is his own man. Even-handed, approachable, and reliable, he’s a de facto big brother and field commander to the other heroes.
  • Color symbolism is very important in these costumes. I kept Dick in black, blue, and yellow, because it symbolizes that he’s completely graduated from Robin status, and he is truly Batman’s peer.
  • I brought the collar back as a nod to the first Nightwing costume, which was itself a nod to the Flying Graysons’ costumes. It’s a subtle reminder of Dick’s non-vigilante heritage.
  • Batman Beyond-style retractable wings allow for gliding.
  • Batons are hard light constructs which can materialize almost instantaneously.
  • The crescent eyes, scalloped wings/capes, and hard light weapons will be unifying motifs through out these re-designs. I definitely didn’t want to stray into the realm of matching uniforms for these characters, but I did want a few elements to tie everything together visually. Additionally, the wings and hard-light weapons are there to help push the idea that this is a future timeline.

Up next is the troubled Jason Todd, AKA Red Hood:

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  • Age: Mid 30′s
  • Whatever may have transpired in the past, Jason has found some degree of redemption and inner peace, and he’s now ‘back in the fold,’ as a trusted member of the Batman family. However, he’s definitely the “Wolverine” or “Raphael” of the group–a maverick who does what he sees fit and frequently comes in conflict with the others.
  • This probably doesn’t qualify as a re-design, really it’s just a minor tweak of the Frank Quietly-designed Red Hood costume. To me, the white, black, and grey represent the ill-defined boundary between right and wrong, which plays into Jason’s persona perfectly. The red symbolizes Jason’s connection to both the Joker and Robin, but also represents the violence in Jason’s life.
  • I did however change the emblem on his chest from a skull to a more abstract face. It’s meant to invoke the “face” that was often found on Batmobiles (and other Bat-vehicles) of the 40′s and 50′s. Just a little something to tie the design closer to Batman’s visual motifs.
  • In imagining a rehabilitated Jason Todd, his appropriation of the Joker’s former identity as Red Hood is even more powerful. I’ll probably always think of The Killing Joke as the definitive Batman story, so the poignant irony of Red Hood as a ‘good guy’ really strikes a chord for me.
  • His kris is a hard light construct, and a nod to his past connection to Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Shadows. No longer armed with pistols, his holsters hold non-lethal weapons–perhaps a dart gun and a taser?

I should mention that the pieces in this series are colored with a Photoshop gouache brush setting that I picked up from an excellent tutorial on DeviantArt.

I’m having fun with these, so I hope you’re enjoying them as well, dear reader. I would say tune in again, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel, but I’ve been posting so erratically, I can’t guarantee the time. But I guess it is the same Bat-channel no matter what. Listen, I’m over-complicating this. Just come back soon, okay? THANK YOU!

(These 2 drawings cover the end of last week and the beginning of this week. Still hanging in there at 2 missed posts, BUT, it looks like I’ll be able to zero out that deficit with the rest of this series. ALMOST THERE.)

His theme goes with everything…

Here’s one of my favorite Street Fighter characters, Guile!

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I lieu of me rambling at length, just listen click on the video below and get psyched for whatever you’re doing:

(This is a late post for Friday. Hanging in there at 2 missed posts. I feel like catching up on those last 2 posts is the procrastinating blogger’s equivalent of “losing the last 10 pounds” for a struggling dieter.)

The Anti-Life Equation and HIMYM

I’ve been doodling a revised costume for Darkseid on and off for several months (because that’s how I entertain myself), but I finally hunkered down and drew a finished sketch:

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You’ll note that I have changed Darkseid’s mini-skirt into a tunic over leggings. I kept the go-go boots though, because girlfriend can pull them off. The Omega motif refers to Darkseid’s Omega Beams naturally, but also refers to, you know, the end of all existence. I imagine this as some sort of triumphant future version of Darkseid

I have been sleeping poorly, but on the plus side, I’ve been drawing a lot while marathoning How I Met Your Mother on Netflix. The show is not without its faults–but the cast is strong, and the narrative structure is compelling. I confess that after shotgunning five or so seasons in the span of less than two weeks, I’ve started to get wrapped up in the lives of these characters. Also, I get emotional if I’m alone and have been sleep deprived. So when the episode about the death of Marshall’s dad came on at 2am while I was drawing Darkseid, yeah, I cried like a little baby.

I DENY THE ANTI-LIFE EQUATION, DARKSEID! WITH PERFORMANCES BOTH MOVING AND LAUGH-INDUCING BY EARTHLINGS SUCH AS JASON SEGEL, I SEE THAT EXISTENCE IS NOT FUTILE! DO YOU SEE, DARKSEID!? EVEN A WEIRDO RECLUSE SUCH AS I WILL SHED TEARS FOR THESE FICTIONAL MORTALS!

I DENY YOU, DARKSEID! I DENY YOU!

Okay, time for bed.

(Still behind by 2 posts! Working on it!)

My Diminuitive Equus

Do you follow me on Twitter? Occasionally hi-jinx happen there. For example, last week I tweeted:

Guys… am I EVER going to get my cutie mark?

And longtime friend of the blog @ChaosMonkey replied:

Your cutie mark is the furry underpants from Masters of the Universe. Now you must draw yourself as a pony. Congratulations.

And so, here we are:

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It was fun to try and capture the essence and color palette of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Visually, the show is really beautifully crafted, so hopefully I did it justice.

You will note that the inherent telekinetic abilities of a unicorn grant my pony avatar the means to draw nerdy-ass fan-art, in spite of having no opposable thumbs. I assure you there was no other motive in drawing my avatar as a fantastic, graceful, and majestic unicorn. None at all. Ahem. I used longer and leaner proportions to indicate age–I think it’s safe to assume that my pony avatar would be significantly older than the main characters of the show. And the slightly longer ears hint at some possibly asinine ancestry.

I MEAN… sure, in the past I have put the show on in the background while I draw. And yeah, my favorite characters are Rarity, Spike, and Princess Luna AKA Nightmare Moon,. But it’s not like I sit around and ship the characters, or draw the ponies as humans.*

So does that make me a “brony“? Pfft, I dunno, whatever. Like I even care.

(*Note to self: start drawing the ponies as humans)

(EDIT: Oops… I almost forgot to include my rambling tally of productivity–this sketch brings me down to 2 missed posts. Almost there!)

Twice As Crabby

Today’s sketches are two versions of one character–the twisted and indestructible crab/robot warrior known as Rampage, from Transformers: Beast Wars. On the left we have a sketch based on his animation model, and on the right a sketch based on his toy:

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These sketches are a thank you gift, and I started out basing my drawing on reference photos of the toy. It’s been a while since I watched Beast Wars, so I didn’t realize that the animation model was so different–many of the character models in Beast Wars are more similar to their toy counterparts. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I finished inking the sketch that I figured it out.

I could have scrapped the toy-version sketch, or jury-rigged it by using the colors of the animation model, but it was so close to being done I just decided to finish it and then start the proper version separately. The cartoon portrayed Rampage as a distinct character with a bit of complexity, so I wanted to acknowledge that with a more accurate drawing.

(These sketches will count as my two for this week. Holding steady at 3 missed posts. More in the pipeline, so I should catch up soon… )

A Random Assortment

As is occasionally my custom, I will draw some gift/thank-you sketches for my various cronies and co-horts. Here is a selection:

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From left to right:

Yes, that’s two back-to-back posts on this blog referencing ALF/Melmac. What can I say, I’m living the dream.

(For those tracking my productivity deficit…

Let’s count one of these sketches as last week’s missed second post, and then count another two of these as the two posts for this week. The Rocketeer is a gimme, since I’ve drawn commission busts of him before–my policy is that “repeats” don’t count towards my weekly posting quotas. That leaves one “extra” sketch, which will bring my total deficit down to 3 missed posts.

I’m getting there, slowly but surely. I know this pedantic accounting is interesting to no one aside from myself, but please humor my attempts at staying statistically productive.)