Going Slightly Mad… January 11, 2012 – Posted in: Blog – Tags: , , ,

Here’s a look at how Richard’s latest commission came together.

In Richard’s own words (with my comments in the image captions) :


I had only 2 specific requests from the client. No mustache (I assume this is a reference to the Batman TV show) and very, very crazy. Okie doke. My composition idea was to use a lot of black to give it something of a claustrophobic feel, as well as to allow the bold colors I knew I would have to use to really pop. More on that in a sec.


The original prelim sketch. On the left is the full composition. On the right is a close-up of what the dolls are to look like.


From there, I chose a placement that kind of mimics a comic book cover, though with the wrong proportions.

So, The Mad Hatter. He’s sitting atop a big pile of Alice dolls having his tea. Oh, and Robin is somehow drowning in the dolls at his feet.  There’s a window behind him and if you look REALLY closely (it’s purposefully subtle) you can see the silhouette of Batman getting ready to crash through the glass.


The pencils…as this piece is to be both inked and colored, the pencils are quite loose.


I like seeing how far I can stretch a “story” in one shot. At least it sets a scene. I also knew I wanted the Hatter breaking the fourth wall, looking right at the viewer with that big insane grin. It really seems to work to make you a part of the scene. How you interpret your involvement, I’ll leave to you and your personal psychosis.


The final inks. I must say at this stage I didn’t see how color could improve this. I also knew that if anyone could, it would be Richard!


The little wooden Alice dolls are all muted in color. I chose the greyest blue (for example) Copics I had to give them color, but at the same time push them back a little. Everything else if just color theory. I study in complimentary colors being used to bring out and emphasize the whole, while drawing the eye down and across the page.  Hopefully I’ve created a pretty straightforward top-left (hat) down to bottom-right/Robin’s hand) composition, with the unfurling tie slowing you down a bit.

Richard does it again. He’s a wizard with copics!



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