SDCC 2004 Art Auction

Why is this woman grimacing? Here I am, facing every artist’s worst nightmare – a blank sheet of paper! You see, every year, I, along with many other artists, contribute a painting – done right on the spot in front of an audience – to be auctioned to benefit one of the many charities the Comic Con International contributes to. This year, the proceeds went to Handicap Services, which provided all the wheelchairs for disabled attendees, as well as interpreters for the deaf at all the panel discussions.

Well, since I’m in so much trouble, naturally the first character I’m going to think of is Winnowill! Here I’ve done a light pencil sketch which I’m beginning to ink with a fine point Sharpie marker. My goal is to do a large showy piece, that will attract lots of auction action!

I’m doing a perspective shot and foreshortening Winnowill’s arm as she sends one of her pain blasts straight toward the viewer.

Now it’s my job to complete the dramatic pose. I’m using her hair to express the fury and energy of her attack. As you can see, it radiates out like flame. Every curve of her body will now reflect that energetic motion.

Naturally, since this is a family-friendly auction, we have to cover up the naughty bits. So I’m using the time-honored technique which goes as far back as Alphonse Mucha and the Art Nouveau movement, of using hair as both cover-up and completion of the sweeping curve.

Here you can see the graceful "S" shape that Winnowill’s body forms. I am starting to add heavy contrasting blacks in places that will highlight the swooping curves of her hair. On the hair that covers her lower body, I will do much tighter highlighting detail.

Here the black shading is complete.

Now I am applying color to intensify the drama of the painting. As you know, purple and blue are the colors most associated with Winnowill. They are royal and yet can be menacing, suggesting darkness and shadow, when used together. The purple background is graded to give the feeling of the radiation of her powers. I am taking the bright blue color all the way over the black highlights in order to deepen their tone.

The painting is now complete, and when an artist finishes a work, all that is left to do is sign it. As you can see, I’ve added an airbrush glow around her hands which emphasizes the perspective of her foreshortened arm. I have also given her a stern facial expression that is yet masklike and calm. Sometimes when you want to portray a powerful character, the more reserved their expression, the more sinister they seem.

And here she is in all her evil majesty! The title of the painting is "Winnowill – Treacherous Spirit." For your information, she brought $700 at the auction, to benefit the convention and its services.