Just so the legion of Ba-Nat fans can have some point of comparison, here’s the real life Ba-Nat: my daughter Angelica. My cousin Carl bought her a “My First Batman” book about a month ago, and ever since she’s been obsessed. She began demanding the “Ba-Nat” book every day, then became obsessed with the classic Adam West Batman TV Show. Then we bought her a Batman costume in anticipation of Holloween, but she saw it and has insisted on wearing it almost every day since.
I’m really enjoying drawing Angelica as “Ba-Nat.” Not only is it incredibly cute (I may be her biased dad and the illustrator, but I’m pretty sure its objectively true), but the simple lines and solid colors is a nice change from the pages I’ve been doing for “Voyages.” Also, splash pages and single-hero action-shots are always a lot easier to conceive and execute than an actual narrative.
I feel I’ve only been posting page updates and no new art. The start of the school year always throws me for a loop, and now I’m trying to cram this newly reawakened desire to draw in with all the other madness that comes with teaching high school English. But taking a break from both comic-booking and grading, I did this cartoon of my daughter, who is currently obsessed with “Ba-Nat.”
Last Thursday I was showing a group of students a movie, so I did whatever I do when I don’t have to give my undivided attention to anything — started doodling and sketching. It’s almost a bad habit, as I will catch myself drawing while having a serious conversation with someone, in the margins of a students essay, on official paper-work, or pretty much any surface that ink or graphite will stick to.
Ninety-nine percent of the time it’s the artistic equivalent of biting my finger-nails (another bad habit of mine), in so much that it just fills time and a need to fidget. The resulting drawings are generally mediocre and without actual purpose, so they just go in the recycling with old quizzes and the daily announcement flyer.
Since starting on Voyager Comics, however, I’ve had an ongoing focus, so my doodles have actually served a purpose. Most of my concept art has been done on my tablet on the computer, but Thursday I was trying to figure out some of the characters for our upcoming series. In particular, there is an elven king, “The Dawn King” and some of his retinue that I needed to work out. After being distracted by my Catwoman project (this was done the morning before I went and added the “Angela Davis” secret identity below), I did some sketches for the Dawn King’s daughter, then his messenger, castle, the king himself, and some crests/heraldic images. I don’t know if the notes are legible themselves, but I always add marginalia to myself on these sort of sketches, which has the added bonus of working nicely when I share it like this.
So this Project: Rooftop blog is sucking up my drawing time — now they’ve got a “Fan Art Friday — Catwooman” redesign going on, so I’ve been doing sketches for that when I should be working on “Voyages.” Here’s what I’ve got so far. I’m was sort of thinking a bit of a punk-rock paramilitary cat-burglar look. Who would really go out and be an anti-hero thief? A bored rich-kid with punk-rock sensibilities, that’s who. Besides, high-heels and skin-tight latex really just isn’t that practical. I also gave her a back-pack, because if you’re burgling stuff, you got to put it somewhere, right? I’m also thinking of keeping it sketchy like it is now, rather than ink it in. We will see . . .
A friend of mine posted some artwork that he was submitting to an online contest over at the site Project Rooftop. The idea is to redesign the costumes for the Fantastic Four. I decided to take a stab at it — “Year of the Dragon” is entirely finished and just being doled out on-line, and since I’m just starting “Voyages” I’m in those early stages where I really want to work on it but also really aren’t quite sure of myself in terms of a new project yet. So this was both fun and a chance to procrastinate.
So most of my art time is spent working on one of my various projects, but sometimes a cartoonist just has to do something random and silly. With the new Batman movie coming out, I guess I’ve had the Dark Knight on the brain. Here’s three comics I did this week.