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Silk Spectre

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By AdamHughes   |   
© 2009 - 2020 AdamHughes
Since the ART OF WATCHMEN book has come out, I feel comfortable posting the art I did for the 8 minutes I worked on the film...

First, the back story. I was contacted by representatives of 300 director Zack Snyder, while 300 was in postproduction, about doing designs for 4 of the 6 main characters from WATCHMEN. Zack wanted me to design the look of the characters, and then do 4 'cover-quality' color illustrations to hep convince the suits & ties at Warner Bros. Pictures to green-light his WATCHMEN film.

I did a first round of sketches, talked with Mr. Snyder, did a second round of looser sketches based on our discussions, and then was given the go-ahead to proceed with designing full illustrations. Since I was running late on CATWOMAN covers as well as other things, I was juggling the assignments. Since I do art for whomever yells the loudest, the WATCHMEN stuff took a minor backburner placing on my To Do List. I never heard from them, they never called or e-mailed saying "Hey, hurry up, you bastard!", so I worked on Selina Kyle.

Then, 300 came out.

It did so well in its opening weekend, Warner Bros. green-lit WATCHMEN the following Monday.

I guess my services weren't required, because I never heard back from the WATCHMEN people. I could've finished the color pieces on principle, like a good freelancer, but I'm so slow that my time is kinda precious, and I don't want to waste time drawing something that isn't going to be used. So, I just chalked it up to "That's business...".

The WATCHMEN people contacted me much later, asking for high-rez versions of the sketches for the inevitable ART OF book. I pointed out that, since I never actually did the assignment I was asked to do, I had never been paid. To their credit, once we agreed on a rate for just the sketches, they check arrived so fast, the envelope was warm, the ink was still wet, and the FedEx guy was out of breath. The WATCHMEN movie guys are a pretty respectable gang, as far as my experience goes.

*****Silk Spectre*****

When director Zack Snyder spoke about Silk Spectre, he confessed she was the one character he was really unsure of how to tackle, costume-wise. In the comics, she is pretty much wearing black lingerie covered in a gossamer camisole; he felt that was not gonna work onscreen.

I think he must've been relieved when I blurted out "Dude! Do her outfit in latex! You can make it have the same lines as her comic outfit, but it'll look cool onscreen and all the cosplayers will go nuts; it'll be a big fan-favorite!" When I saw the WATCHMEN trailer in front of DARK KNIGHT, and saw Silk Spectre in latex, I almost turned to the stranger next to me and bragged "That was my idea! Eeee!" Yes, I am functionally retarded.

OK, first sketch, on the left. Pretty basic. It matches Gibbons' design relatively closely, I think. I imagined it as a chin-to-toe full latex suit; that way the actress and stuntwomen would have some protection while kicking alternate 1986 ass. I even thought the gossamer cammy would work. Zack liked it, but wanted her to have a domino mask. Bless his zombies-that-run-fast heart, he wanted to make sure the Watchmen looked like damn superheroes. The second sketch reflects that, plus his request that she have some weapons. I thought those telescoping truncheons would fit the bill.

From what I've seen, the screen version doesn't have a mask, and shouldn't! The actress in the costume looks so PERFECT, they nailed it. Silk Spectre (both 1940s and 1980s versions) should have a fetich quality to the look, and what I see onscreen NAILS IT. I can't wait.
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anonymous's avatar
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MarcosTNH's avatar
MarcosTNHStudent Traditional Artist
Amazing sketch man :), your art would be awesome in Watchmen :D
Rugely's avatar
RugelyProfessional General Artist
Wow! These little bits of background just make the movie all that much more for me. Great call on the outfit :)
ForeverZeroDragon's avatar
ForeverZeroDragonHobbyist General Artist
silk spectre, what a beautie :D
DarkKnightJRK's avatar
DarkKnightJRKStudent Traditional Artist
Awesome stuff--shame you could design more, but it looks like you were influential in at least one costume. :)

I'm trying to figure out what that is surrounding both of them there--some kind-of clear cape?
cherry-mary's avatar
Latex? LOL her name is Silk Spectre not Latex Lass! How can she be Silk Spectre if she doesn’t have any silk on her?
(Please don't take offense I'm a big fan of your artwork .^^;)
AdamHughes's avatar
No offense taken. :-)

The director felt they couldn't have a female streetfighting crimefighter in silk lingerie, so they asked me for my input. I suggested latex. I actually suggested a gossamer silk wrap, but it was rejected. If you need any rationalization, she's actually Silk Spectre II, inheriting the name from her mother, who actually wore silk when she fought crime.

cherry-mary's avatar
XD Yes, that’s a good explanation. She was never that thrilled about being a super hero anyway so it would be in character for her not to care about the silk thing at all. Thanks for humoring me I always appreciate it when people can take a joke. lol
kickmaster123's avatar
that looks better then her movie adaptation.
kaffepanna's avatar
kaffepannaProfessional Traditional Artist
it still kills me that to see her without that poncho/cape of yours. PERFECTION.
Ziggyman's avatar
ZiggymanProfessional General Artist
You really help a lot to the visual imaginery of the movie, Adam.
Artema's avatar
ArtemaHobbyist Digital Artist
"Dude! Do her outfit in latex! You can make it have the same lines as her comic outfit, but it'll look cool onscreen and all the cosplayers will go nuts; it'll be a big fan-favorite!"

lol! As a cosplayer, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for thinking of us. :D
AdamHughes's avatar
You're very welcome!

I have many cosplayer pals, and ya gotta look after your pals.

Artema's avatar
ArtemaHobbyist Digital Artist
That's so cool. \o/ It's always nice to have a friend in high places, lol.

I wouldn't be surprised to see someone cosplay your version of SS, too. Lord knows we love our obscure variations. x3
AdamHughes's avatar
I think my cosplay pals are referring to me when they say "I have low friends in high places".

I look forward to a summer of Silk Spectres, of all designs!

textosterone's avatar
Pretty much reading on anything/everything I can in prep for re-creating your latex-y version for SD Comic-Con. So glad I was able to view and read your story. Now I know who to blame for every pin-prick I get from constructing this monstrosity.

Thank you for your contributions and hard work. I've always admired your work and am glad to know more of it exists in the things I take the most pleasure in :)
dsantiag's avatar
dsantiagProfessional General Artist
First off, let me say that I admire your artwork, sir! Damn near perfect all the time. Secondly, I admire your writing in your Artist's Comments section for this series of drawings. Very enlightening, humorous, friendly, and fun to read! Well done!
AdamHughes's avatar
Thank you very much!
Sir-Real's avatar
Sir-RealHobbyist General Artist
Yeah, the Silk Spectre is definetly hot in any version.
peppermint-polly's avatar
Your mention to the cosplayers was part funny, part lovely, and full of win.
hawkeye's avatar
Gorgeous version of her!
Maxgarcia's avatar
MaxgarciaHobbyist General Artist
I love the dynamism of his female figures.

brianbuster's avatar
she looks like morgan webb of g4 fame. great job.
SailorBetch's avatar
:iconomfgplz: AH!!! I now see that you DID indeed do a design for Silk Spectre!!!
This is very remarkable. I love how you kept the sheer fabric aspect in. I like it. :D
SchizoidEntity's avatar
I admire you so much...!
anonymous's avatar
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