Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Sphinx Part I

I haven't posted lately because, strangely enough, I haven't been all that busy at work. My nights and weekends have been pretty full but, with Suzanne out of town and no need for me to sit around the office at night, I've been able to go home and work on the stuff that needs to get done. Tonight, however, Suzanne's out with some girlfriends and we forgot to drive separately. Thus, I'm sitting at my desk waiting for her to pick me up. Which is great, because it's given me time to work on my latest drawing.

Thank my buddy Christian Leaf for this one. He's always trying to get me to draw more and one of his favorite ploys is the drawing contest at his usual comic shop, a great little place on the VCU campus called Velocity Comics. I feel a little guilty because I don't shop there. I shop at Nostalgia Plus, which is the shop owned by my friends Marvin and Marsha. But I'm fiercely competitive and can't resist a challenge. So here I am, trying to crank out my entry before the October 31st deadline. Since I'm going to be out of town much of the time between now and then, I'd best get crackin'.

This is the thumbnail I did about a week or so ago. The theme for this contest is "Bring on the Bad Guys." Leaf is drawing on of Hitman's villains, which you can see at his blog. I decided to go with the arch-nemesis of my favorite character Nova: The Sphinx. I always loved how Sal Buscema drew him, all blocky and thick. Which is why I don't understand how this drawing of the Sphinx came out so slender. Oh, well, it's just a thumbnail. I liked the layout quite a bit but his arms looked a little strange to me, like he's doing that thing they make you do in the Army, holding up pails of sand until your arms give out. Plus, his pose from the waist down seemed a little feminine to me. Still, I liked the low angle and the way the figures overlapped.

This is my tightened-up rough. I wanted to give the Sphinx a more iconic pose and fix the problems I had with his arms and legs before. I made a real effort to mimic the thickness Sal gave him. I'm a little worried that the pose is too static, though, even with the arms in different positions. I decided to get my Gil Kane on with Nova this time around. I always loved how Gil drew people after they'd been knocked out and I tried for that here. I also thought it would be cool, since I liked the low angle of the thumbnail, to have the horizon line on the very bottom of the page. Now that I see it scanned, though, it looks a little awkward. I think I may solve this by tilting the image at an angle when I trace it onto board. That would fix the horizon line and also give the picture a little more energy that I think it's lacking right now. I also need to work out the buildings better before I start tracing. I'm horribly lazy when it comes to backgrounds but I'm going to force myself to concentrate on them. Maybe some photo reference would help.

Hopefully, I'll have the pencilled piece ready to post by the end of the weekend. I'm taking the weekend off from Durham to recharge and some time at the drawing board should help. When I'm done, Christian has offered to ink it for me so this should be an interesting experiment. Christian's a much better inker than I am and I can't wait to see how it comes out. In return, I'm going to color his entry for him. So, stay tuned.


Christian D. Leaf said...

I think they're both great sketches, though you're right about Sphinx looking a too lady-like in the first one.

I'll try not to muck your pencils too much when the inking begins, but I'm making no promises. Good thing a light-table gives you plenty of second and third chances. (Can you feel the confidence? Me either.)

Heywood Jablomie said...


This looks great so far! Yeah the first one was kinda lady-like, but that's what rough's are for right? I like the second one a lot though. If you feel it looks static, maybe swing Sphinx's right arm around a little, maybe make it point downwards more or maybe have it arching a little to the back some? But it looks great either way. Can't wait to see it finished. Nova's one of my faves as well. I'm in the middle of reading the Marvel Essentials Nova right now. I've never read this series so it's really great getting them all in one nice little affordable piece. I was able to get Erik Larsen to do me a head shot of Nova at the Balt-con cuz I knew how much he loved him as well. He was shocked that I asked for him, cuz he didn't think anyone paid attention when he said that haha!

Heywood Jablomie said...

Oh I also looked at the pic again and with the static pose thing, maybe position his legs a little spread out more or something? If you feel you need to do anything else that is.

Warren said...

I think it looks pretty danged good. Fixing the horizon might also help with the staticness you perceive. I like it as is. Looks like a classic Kane/Romita Marvel cover. All it needs is the "NOVA" logo and maybe a speech bubble with Sphinx talkin' smack to the defeated hero.

Oh, and a 20¢ cover price!

todd said...

matt, matt, matt~~

man, these are gorgeous! both of them! i actually dig all over the poses you have in the first one--they look, i dunno, more natural. yeah, sphinxy doesn't look as imposing as he does in the second one, but he looks a lot more real. and nova looks very natural getting up after having his ass handed to him.

yeah, the second one is more iconic, dynamic, kirby-esque (or sal. or gil.), but the first one looks REAL! (a kevin maguire, early adam hughes kinda thing). two totally different styles and i think you nailed them both in one blog!

man, i gotta stop writing this and start writing you that story!!

love ya!

Adam Hutch said...

Matt, they both look great! I could see it as an opening splash page for an issue of Nova. Can't wait to see it finished.

Squeeze said...

I love this sketch. Can't wait to see it after Ink Stained Fingers get a hold of it. Should be great.

Sorry that we have to stay at work so late every night baby. Glad you got to draw though.

Brian said...

I really like the iconic nature of the Sphinx in he second image and think he looks more formidable than static.

As for Todd's comments . . . Story? What Story?

Matt Wieringo said...

Thanks, everybody.

Brian, it's just Todd and me having some fun in our free time. Free time. Ha!

craig rousseau said...

well, here's my $0.02...

i dig'm both. Actually think the figure/pose of the sphinx in the first one is a bit more dynamic, and i like the nova from the second.