Tag - batman

Art Tuesday – Week 1: 60 Second Batman

Batman by Dante

While last week was our first official week of Art Tuesday, this week marks the first time we have results. Our first task was to draw Batman in 60 seconds, no more and no less. The results have brought us a fun group of pictures, all of which are included in this post. Along with that, you can find this week’s assignment at the end of the post. Sound good? Good!

Drawing something in a minute is no small feat. It calls upon the artist to think and react quickly, but at the same time I was hoping it would bring out unique ideas within everyone. I chose Batman because aside from the fact he’s awesome, everyone is familiar with him. We all most likely have symbols of what Batman is in our head, so getting those onto the page quickly while hopefully creating something interesting was the goal here. The time limit doesn’t let us dwell on what we think are the facts, instead it forces us to make bold and quick judgments.

60 Second Batman Results

Batman by Dante

I found Dante369’s interesting because he decided to make a work around. He completely cheated it, but sometimes creativity pays because I found his the most quirky of the lot. It’s not what I was looking for at all in this assignment, but that’s part of the charm I guess.

Russell's Batman

Russell Casse did his Batman with a mouse, and fully admitted to going over 60 seconds. If there were such a thing, that would make him disqualified for this week. I’ll give him credit for doing it with a mouse though because it’s very hard to draw with a mouse. I imagine for him it was much harder to get into the right frame of mind with this assignment because he was battling his device. Still, credit for the effort.

Spiker's Batman

This comes from phantomspiker, whom actually managed to get Batman’s entire body in the shot. With the exception of Frank, he’s the only one to do a full body shot, which is actually a good thing! I also love the addition of the “Boom” in the corner, which I wonder if that was included in his 60 seconds.

Steve's Batman

Steve’s Batman set us up the bomb. I kind of love this because Steve decided to choose a semi-famous Batman scene from the old Batman film where he’s literally running around with a bomb over his head for about five minutes. I like that Steve’s picture tells us a brief snippet of a story.

John Still's Batman

Stillies actually recorded his Batman process as well. He went with a quick portrait style shot spending his time on Batman’s head and facial expression. I kind of wish he also took a real picture of his drawing so we could better see the lines (I had to steal the above off of his UStream video).

Frank's Batman

Frank managed to get a full body shot done by mainly using one simple shape to his advantage. It’s a clever use of the time, and the shape could go in so many ways. Remove Batman’s head and fist, throw some eyes on there and you have a Pacman Ghost, or Bloo from Foster’s Home. There are options with that shape. Thanks to this, it allowed him time to add some tone to his image giving us the most complete image of the lot.

William's Batman

William Smith went with a simple cartoony style angry Batman face. His was also done digitally, and I’m going to venture to guess he also used a mouse to do it, which held him back on his timing like Russell above.

My Batman shot isn’t what I hoped for because I aimed for too much. As you can see in my video, I did attempt to draw his whole body when I felt like I had the time to do so. I really should have just abandoned that idea and stuck with his torso. I also lost a second when I adjusted my screen position in the middle of the process. Doing so threw me off, and the rest of the picture suffered as a result. We live and we learn!

Next Week’s Assignment – Blind Contour Drawing of Scrooge McDuck

This is a tricky one and always ends up with fascinating results. A Blind Contour Drawing is one in which the artist copies an image (or object, like their hand) onto paper without looking at the paper and without lifting the pencil so it’s one continuous line. The idea of it is to help improve hand eye coordination and to help the artist trust exactly what they see and not what they perceive to be seeing. I chose Uncle Scrooge because, why not? We will all draw the following image.

So remember, do NOT look at the paper as you draw Uncle Scrooge (don’t worry about the background, just concentrate on him). Do not lift your pencil, it needs to be one line, like you’re using an EtchaSketch. Spend as much time on it as you choose, it’s not a race. It’s about focusing and concentrating, the complete opposite of what we did last week. You want to try and record every single detail you come across. When you’re finished, you can share the results in our Art Tuesday thread or e-mail them to me at phil at shamoozal.com.

Looking forward to them, have fun!

My DC Descent into Obsession

superman-earth-one

I have a confession that is probably going to knock a few points off of my geek-cred score… I’ve never really read much in the way of DC comics. In fact, the only things I really remember reading are The Watchmen and Batman: The Killing Joke. While it’s true I’ve seen all the Batman and Superman movies countless times, I never really read the comics. I was a Marvel guy as a kid, and for whatever reason I was firmly entrenched on that side of the Fanboy Mason-Dixon line. X-Men, New Mutants, X-Force, Spiderman, Punisher, Incredible Hulk, these were my gospel. I was a ‘true believer’, also known as a true belliwar.

Something peaked my interest lately, I’m not sure what it was. Maybe it’s been all the Dark Knight Rises talk in the nerdosphere, maybe it’s been the revamped Superman talk… I’m not sure. Something compelled me to sit down this weekend and start digging into those two universes and so far, it looks like I may be hooked.

First off I sat down this afternoon and watched Batman: Under the Red Hood on Netflix. I’ve caught a few minutes here and there of Batman: The Animated Series, but it never really grabbed me. I’m not sure if it was the visual style, or some lingering preconceptions I had about the DC Universe. Either way, this was my first time watching a WB Animation Batman movie.

Anyway, I won’t dance around it… this movie absolutely blew me away.  Not only was the animation of the highest caliber, but the story and characters were on a level far above anything I’ve ever seen in an animated series. I’ve already gone into Netflix and added every single available Batman title to my Instant Queue.

This compelled me to head over to my local Borders and pick up some DC Graphic Novels. After standing and staring at the shelf for a while I realized that I’ve missed out on a lifetime’s worth of stories and I really didn’t know where to start. I ended up picking up Superman: Earth One and Batman: The Long Halloween. I’m sure there might have been better choices, but I was going in with the eyes of a total DC noob.

I sat down and read through the entire Superman Earth One in just under an hour. So, I guess right there that says how much I enjoyed it. I’ve always found Superman to be a sort of (how shall I say this delicately) one-dimensional character. Don’t get me wrong, I love the hell out of the movies, I’ve just always felt like he less interesting than Batman.

I really enjoyed this retelling of Superman’s origin. It was much more interesting to see Superman as a reluctant, conflicted super hero rather than just flying into Metropolis one day and announcing he’s a hero. I’m not sure what direction they’re taking for the Zack Snyder reboot movie, but if this is any indication I may rescind my previous statements about it being a bad idea.

I’m glad I finally took the DC plunge, I feel like theres so much great content I’ve been missing out on. I’m already looking forward to picking up some more Superman Graphic Novels, I’m open to any suggestions from the DC Veterans around here. What should I pick up next?

I swear to you, Art Tuesdays are back.

swear to me!

swear to me!

A few years ago we used to take part in an “Art Tuesday” thing on our forums. It was only a few of us and we just kicked around some simple sketches. It eventually died down and went away completely, but you know, I’m bringing it back. I’m bringing it back for my own selfish reasons (despite working on cartoons, I’m extremely out of practice) but it’s okay, maybe some of you other guys will benefit! It’s kind of therapeutic drawing with a group, even if it is over the computer.

So here’s the deal, every Tuesday I’ll be creating a new topic for us to work with. From there you’ll have a week to post it on our boards (or hey, you can even tweet it or e-mail it to me) and I’ll do a little write up about each of them and include my own work too. I’ll also post the next assignment through that update. We used to switch off and have other members choose the subjects each week, but I’m sorry, I’m taking the reigns completely here. Think of this as more of a class type situation.

That said, our first assignment is a simple one. Draw Batman in 60 seconds. That’s it. All you need to do is see what you can come up with in 60 seconds. No multiple takes or anything like that. One picture, one minute, one shot. Easy enough, right? Anyway, feel free to post your results in our Art Tuesday thread, or like I said, tweet them or e-mail them to me (phil at shamoozal.com). You have until Monday night.

Superman’s Uneventful but Daring Return

Superman Returns

Superman Returns

I happened across the final 30 – 40 minutes of Superman Returns yesterday, and I realized it was the first time I’ve watched the movie since I saw it when it was originally released. I felt like I was one of the few people that genuinely liked Superman Returns when it came out, and I was surprised how quickly I got pulled into it watching it halfway through. This time though I was watching the ending a bit more objectively, trying to maybe see what not only the general public didn’t like about it, but Warner Brothers themselves. It’s probably a bit unfair to offer thoughts on this one since I’m only basing it on the memory of it from years ago and the final act from yesterday, but I’ll try my best here.

Watching it now, I can see why the public didn’t like it. Director Bryan Singer is clearly running his own show here, and to me it shows that the studio trusted him enough to make this into a lucrative franchise again after his huge success with X-Men and X2. Maybe they trusted him too much, and as a result Singer was able to make the exact film he wanted to make. It’s very apparent that this film is more than just an homage to Richard Donner‘s 1978 Superman film, and to a lesser extend Superman 2, in that it’s actually a follow up to those films (thankfully ignoring parts 3 and 4). To me it shows that Singer was much more interested in exploring Christopher Reeve‘s Superman and not actually Superman the comic hero. Everything from the title sequences, the classic John Williams theme, Marlon Brando‘s likeness, and Brandon Routh looking suspiciously like Christopher Reeve shows that Singer was making Superman 3 (or 5 depending on how you wan to look at it). He wasn’t reinventing the wheel, instead playing safe and fulfilling his own desires. This is the Superman follow up he would have liked back in the 80s, and because WB let the man run wild with this, he was able to get away with it.

I actually like that Singer was able to pull this off, but I can also see how it is Returns greatest weakness. WB was clearly looking for a new franchise to market and make more movies out of in the way that Singer made X-Men into what it was. Instead, Singer decided to make a sequel to a 25 year old franchise. Putting into slight perspective, it would sort of be like if Christopher Nolan decided he loved the 1966 Batman film and made Batman Begins the proper follow up to it. Though I suppose you could say that’s what Joel Schumacher intended with Batman & Robin, but that’s another story entirely.

Getting back on track, the result of Singer’s decision is that Returns turned out to be a character piece that was slightly in love with itself more than it should have been. With it being an homage to the original film it didn’t find its own identity and stilted its growth as a new franchise. WB complains that the reason they didn’t continue on with making this line of Superman movies was that it didn’t make enough money, but in looking up the numbers the film made $400 million worldwide, and was the sixth highest grossing film of 2006. With numbers like that it’s pretty clear that the film was a financial success, but I suppose the public’s opinion of it and the suits of WB decided money wasn’t the issue here, it was the marketability of the next film. I suppose it’s a similar situation that Sam Raimi just went through with Spiderman 4 in that Spiderman 3 made tons of money, but that public opinion of the franchise was tainted in his final act. As a result, the film was taken from Sam and is being “rebooted” in an effort to make another set of Spiderman flicks. The Superman franchise is going through the same growing pains, taken from Singer, and now being rebooted with Christopher Nolan somewhat behind it (which I do look forward to by the way).

To be honest, that’s what this film should have been all along. It should have been it’s own brand separate from the now classic Christopher Reeve adventures, with nods to the originals just as a way of showing appreciation. That’s clearly the movie WB had wanted, but it wasn’t the movie Singer wanted to make. Because of this I think we as an audience actually win. Superman Returns is now officially a one of a kind movie, something we’ll probably never see again in Hollywood in that it’s a true sequel to a classic film series and not a reboot (though I guess the recently released Wall Street film could also be in that category too). We got to see what could happen when one man’s passion for a film is fueled by a nearly limitless Hollywood budget. Could you imagine if 25 years from now someone decided to make a sequel to Spiderman 3? Or rather a sequel to Spiderman 2 in which Spiderman 3 never happened? It would never happen ever. No one would ever allow that, yet somehow Singer got away with it.

Superman Returns might be a little long, drag at times, and not be very action oriented, but it’s an interesting piece of film that respects its roots and has plenty of heart.

Overheard on the Smorg: Dark Knight or Spidey 2?

“Spiderman 3’s awfulness partially negates Spiderman 2’s awesomeness. It’s science.”

-Dante369 on Dark Knight vs Spiderman 2

For me this is actually a rather tough question. I honestly love both The Dark Knight and Spiderman 2 so it’s kind of hard to pick the one I feel is a better movie. I supposed Dark Knight is a better film, but there’s something very touching and human about Spiderman 2. It’s not to say that Dark Knight lacks human emotion, but it’s on such a grander scale where as Spiderman 2 is more personal and accessible. Peter Parker is the easier character to relate to being the every man just trying to get on with his life and make the most of it. Considering Peter gets shit on nearly every step of the way during Spiderman 2, he feels more like the underdog and becomes easier to identify with. Plus, any scene with Aunt May always gets me.

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