John C. Kirk (johnckirk) wrote,
John C. Kirk

Drawing Batman

Today I have mostly been drawing Batman, with varying degrees of success.

The basic idea was to have a dynamic picture of Batman running along with his cape flying in the wind behind him. Here was my first attempt:


Unfortunately, this looked more like Mr Bump out for a jaunty stroll. I'm aiming for the Adam West version of Batman rather than the dark and brooding version, but even so this wasn't quite what I had in mind. So, I tried again:


Still not great, but I think it's a definite improvement, and it's useful to work out why (for future reference). Firstly, he's obviously lost a bit of weight since my first attempt! Secondly, I made more of an effort with his proportions. Taking my own measurements as a rough guide, I'm 1.86 metres tall, divided up like this:
* Inside leg = 90 cm (that's "ground to groin" so it's longer than my trousers).
* Underpant zone = 20 cm (groin to belt).
* Belt to collar = 50 cm.
* Collar to chin = 6 cm.
* Chin to top of head = 20 cm.
So, the point where the legs meet the torso should be roughly the mid-point, and the head should be about the same height as the pants.

When people run, they normally move opposing arms legs, e.g. you would move your right arm forward at the same time as the left leg. If you move the same arm and leg forward together, you lurch like a zombie. I wanted to show the chest symbol, which means that I need to have Batman's right arm forward and left arm back; this in turn means that I need to have his left leg forward and right leg back. However, this wasn't really clear in the first version, mainly because of the gap between his legs where they joined the torso. I think this works better in the second version because they overlap: even if you aren't consciously aware of it, you can see all of the near leg while the far leg is partly obscured at the top. Having a line for ground level may also help there. The chest is still a bit weird, and it would work better if he was running diagonally; I think this is called a "3/4 view". However, I'm not quite up to that yet.

4 years ago, I did a remastered version of The Gift. (Wow, I didn't realise it had been that long - time flies...) One of the problems there was the "shark eyes" on the characters, but fortunately that's not an issue here because Batman is often portrayed with white eye holes in his mask. With that old comic, I drew bubbles instead of hands, and I've made more of an effort to show thumbs/fingers here; obviously it helps that Batman has a good excuse to keep his hands in fists.

I certainly don't claim to be a talented artist, but if I can see an improvement within the space of a day then that bodes well.

Aside from practicing my skills, there is a reason for all this. My nephew has requested an email (!) about a particular incident that happened to me when I was little. Since he's not quite old enough to read yet, I thought that it would be a good idea to illustrate the story. (Some of you have probably heard this story before.) I'll post it here in due course, but I want to give him "exclusive access" for a little while first.
Tags: comics

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