Here’s my massive commissioned recreation of Adam Hughes’ Women of DC poster. It’s 20×30 inches, completed in COPIC marker, colored pencil, and white ink on board. From left to right: Catwoman, Batgirl/Oracle, Zatanna, Black Canary, Huntress, Power Girl, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Vixen, Batwoman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn. This isn’t a scan instead a digital photo a friend was kind enough to provide.
An over view of the process completing this puppy. Because of the size of the piece, I was having a lot of trouble working out the scale, etc. So using a projector I sized the figures onto the board from a shot of the original poster. I didn’t trace the figures or pencil it out from the projection, just got the basic figure on so I knew right away I would have space to fit all of the figures on the board without having to erase and erase, and harm the surface of the board, knowing I was going to be applying marker later.
From there, I worked out the rough pencils using a small image of the poster on the web for reference. I don’t own the poster, and really had no desire to COPY it or Adam’s style. While I needed it to get certain details, obviously, I really approached commission the from the perspective of really putting my stamp on the idea, and give my commissioner something that is obviously based directly on the poster, but at the same time something unique and from me.
After roughly penciling in the piece, I made a point of not referring to an image of the poster again, and I worked out the final pencils, inks, and colors on my own, only referring back when a point of confusion arose.
Addressing each figure individually as I think they need comment:
- Catwoman: I decided she needed a shiny dress, which would sort of refer back to her costume a bit, and help her stand out from the smoother lines of the silky white gowns even more. She was probably (along with Power Girl) the most fun to color.
- Batgirl/Oracle: she worked out very nearly perfectly, and it was when I was coloring her that I realized that I could probably actually make this work. The wheelchair spokes were a royal pain in the butt. My father is in a wheelchair, so I made a trip to see him and based them upon those on his chair, coupled with some internet research. Her earrings I made her Oracle “logo”, which is kind of an eye on its side. She’s pushing her glasses up with her finger, and her eyes are green — one of the few splashes of color on the art
- Zatanna: I tried a new technique on her hair, as it fades to a lighter and lighter grey towards the bottom. I also tried to make her face one of the more mysterious looking ones on the page. It’s all in the eyes. It was also good fun playing with the folds in the dress, thinking about where her body does and does not press against and both flatten and distort the fabric. I love that kind of stuff. There’s no detail to her dress behind the wheelchair beyond some color fades, as I felt at the pencil stage it just cluttered up that area WAY too much.
- Black Canary: Not much to say, really. You may note that her leg is colored a bit more smoothly than the others on the page. I’m trying to show that she’s wearing hose, harkening back to her costume a bit. It works if you know what I’m doing, not so much otherwise I think.
- Huntress: This was a requested addition by the client. From my perspective, she was a good addition, in that she helps pull together a bit more the overall triangular composition Adam chose for the poster as a whole. Also, I made a point to have her touching both BC and PG. Barring a couple of minor exceptions, none of the heroines are really interacting with one another in any way. It’s like they’re statues lined up, and I wanted something more akin to friends ina formal photo. It’s also one of a couple of things that led me to believe, once I started really working on the artwork, that Adam probably drew each character individually and then Photoshopped them onto the page together. I don’t KNOW that, it’s only an assumption based upon my experience in working off of it.
- Power Girl: SO much fun to color. All of the textures to work with. I also decided to make her hair a little manga-y
- Wonder Woman: Not much to say here either. I tried a dry brush technique with the markers on her bracelets, and was pleased with the results.
- Supergirl: Gave her an S earring and an S curl, just because. I reworked one of her legs/feet because I didn’t think it really worked the way it was rendered in the poster. I think that’s because of the jumble of legs, and as a stand-alone figure, it’s a great pose for Supergirl. But the way it is, it kind of looks like that foot might belong to another character.
- Poison Ivy: I decided to make her cool grey, to emulate her being green (which it turned out when I looked at the poster after I finished, she’s not there) and to maybe bring a little more balance to the offset created by Catwoman. I really really tried to make the bottom of her dress kinda like the roots/trunk of a tree, without pushing it so far that it wasn’t cloth any more.
- Harley Quinn: The other dash of color: The red on her Joker earrings.