Saturday, June 11, 2011

Crown Jewel: Empress of Awesome!

Wanted a chance to pipe up in between my posts celebrating professional and historical illustrations, to talk briefly about a project of my own I've been scratching across three sketchbooks over the past two and a half months. You see I love comics in all forms and ever since graduation over a year ago I have been trying to come up with my own ideas and characters in hopes of creating sample pages to showcase at conventions and wherever else I can.

I'm not well known for my confidence in my own work, so I thought I'd implusively spring for talking about some of my ideas on perhaps my readers (now in the double digits!) would be kind enough to share their thoughts.

This is my first drawing of "Crown Jewel", a comic book superheroine I've been developing since around April. This is a rather simple design conveying her royal and bejeweled theme with a simple tiara, crown shaped breastplate and belt buckle along with a diamond shaped skirt with large studded gems which could open to reveal weapons or tools like her Scepter Deflector.

But alas, I could never stay satisfied with something so simple, wanting to give her a more distinct look.

This version replaced the breastplate with a large glowing jewel over her heart and several smaller gems leading down to her belt which formed a "CJ" kind of shape.


Her breastplate and boots became more ornate and complex.

Most pages were cluttered like this, I've just been giving you the highlights thus far.
This is were my peristance pays off, as the upper right corner reveals, I developed a shape that looked like a series of three pointed crowns interlocking around the letters "C" and "J" with an octagonal gem in the center. This would be a permanent fixture in every design afterward.

I also experimented with giving her a mask to break the silhouette as well as make her a bit unique as very few heroines wear masks. Least their faces no longer be pretty or something like that.

I thought I had all the pieces together when I did this page, only to step back and saw an odd juxapostion of a doe eyed face with the broad body of a female wrestler, to say nothing a very complicated set of boot buckles.  I decided some action poses would help loosen thing up and give Jewel some more life.

I continued to experiment with torso designs before moving on to her eponymous crown.

Here I hit about the idea of abandoning the skirt for two colored bars on either side of her hips with a elongated chestpiece and loincloth, so as to form a crown shape across her body and to allow for negative space through darker colors.

I also briefly replaced her hair with crackling energy. 

I refined the design, adding golden shoulder pads to make her look stronger and more balanced. This design helped to guide the eye down, but had the unfortunate side effect of splitting textures on her breasts, which made her torso look angry.

Further refinement with a new breastplate

New breastplate fits firmly, with jewels on over her heart and both shoulders. Darker areas crackle with shimmering sparks of energy just beneath her skin like a living engine. Her crown and face are now one in the same.

Finally, Color! Lots of gold, particularly around the torso, she turned out to be brighter than I imagined, and combined with the flaming red hair I think she resembles Frankie Raye from the Fantastic Four a bit too much I think and fully golden breastplate reduces the amount of purple lines to guide the eye down to the rest of the figure, so there may still be some more tweaking to do yet. 

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