Sunday, July 21, 2013

Original Art Sundays No. 161: Sketchbook redux

Next page is 3/4 done. With limited scanner access again this week, I opted to concentrate on other work, including the class on Comic Book Writing that I'm currently teaching, and completing an article with a deadline of yesterday (I made the deadline, BTW).
Here are some pages from that same sketchbook to tide us over.

No. 4 pencil, fine line marker and metallic blue marker
First up, a random stab at a female pirate, inspired by old friend Sarah Cardin's fascination with pirate films. Period piracy has become a bit of a fascination for me. I am vehemently opposed to contemporary piracy in most forms.
Next, an original superhero that was fully developed but whose story was never realized.
No. 2 and No. 4 pencil on sketchbook paper
I had to severely darken the image to get the text to read. I pulled out the area around the figure, upper right, for a bit of contrast. The textured gray that fills most of the image is simply paper texture taken to extremes in Photoshop. In case you can't make them out, the notes in the page are:
  • Practical shoes and boots
  • Costume offers protection (armor?)
  • NOT skin tight
  • Hair- either keep short or in back
  • Mask? NO!!
  • Dark tones hues/ colors/ contrast intensity
  • Eliminate V-
  • Go to hi-strength leotard w/Kelvar
  • Chainmail vest/tunic
  • Knife sheath - Hip? Boot?
  • Whole thing is too medieval
This was an attempt to create a plausible female superhero, based unconsciously in part on the 70s version of the Huntress by Paul Levitz and Joe Staton, also on my meditations on Doc Savage, and inspired by a Tess Gallagher poem titled The Kiss, from whence comes the character's name. I had thought the hand-held crossbow was an original idea, until I realized I'd cobbled it unconsciously from this story- but the notion of the bow being collapsible and wrist-mounted is all mine.
Though I can find no specific record of the Gallagher poem (she wrote several poems about kisses, but I cannot find this one), I do recall hearing her read it on NPR and my fascination with it. The notion she described in the ensuing interview, that a woman's kiss could be a secret agent or a superhero, charmed and inspired me.
The Huntress, from DC Super Stars No. 17,
December 1977
Of course, many of the ideas that I considered crucial to the character have since manifested in other wonderful characters like the Andreyko and Pina Manhunter series and the  Rucka and Williamson work on Batwoman, about which I've gushed in the past. In this context, it's also important to note Ivory Madison's revision of The Huntress. Sadly, she's done only one comic story since then.

Revisions based on previous sketch.
No. 4 pencil and marker
This is my meditation on superheroes, women, and superwomen. I have the storyline plotted out and characters developed in notes- have done for decades- but as I have no shortage of current projects, I wonder if it will ever see fruition. I suspect this is one of those things on which I would write and hand the art off to someone more suited for such work.
As always, I am overwhelmed by the number of projects I start and seldom finish- a common problem, I hope!- but I do take heart in the occasional completion of one.
This is the issue I bring to my writing students. Others only see the finished product as 100% of what it is. The creator sees it as a much smaller figure, sometimes less than1%, of the vision, of what could be.
Next week, back to the Cowgirls!