So I was sitting in my studio this morning, preparing to start a new commission. Every illustration, drawing, comic panel, etc offers its own unique challenge, and this new commission will certainly be a doozy. This commission will feature four science heroes from DC Comics 1960s THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD series, a snazzy 1950s helicopter, and a cadre of prehistoric velociraptors! It's another in a series of SUICIDE SQUAD retro covers prepared for my buddy, Bill Cox
I can't say that I've drawn a ton helicopters in my life, but I have drawn them many times before, and I think I can manage with the right reference images to guide me. Velociraptors though? No, they won't be a problem at all! I'm a dinosaur guy, so I love drawing dinosaurs of all types, so I'm good there. What about the Suicide Squad science heroes? Well, I won't have any trouble there either.
As I was beginning the work this morning, I started thinking about all the unique challenges I've faced with just this series of commission covers. I had to figure out who to draw an overhead view of the Eiffel Tower...with a giant snake wrapped around it. I had to figure out how to combine that with the historical Hiller Flying Platforms, which were hovering overhead. I had to find a way to show the massive scale of the snake and Tower, while also trying to keep the heroes large enough in the shot. I also had to fit in a logo and other cover text. All of this in one cover commission! A rather daunting task, but I think I managed to pull it all off pretty well. I was very pleased to present Bill with this cover:
So how do you follow-up a commission like the first one? Well, the second one featured my more realistic take on the Japanese movie monster, Gorosaurus (from the film, DESTROY ALL MONSTERS), attacking the Arc De Triomphe. Just to make things tricky, I did another difficult POV shot (this time from slightly below). I gave the Suicide Squad the historical Bell Rocket Belts (which are on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center Branch of the SMITHSONIAN AIR & SPACE MUSEUM. I even got in a '50s helicopter:
I really enjoyed drawing those first two commission for Bill, so I proceeded to get my pal, Steve Downer
to add digital colors to both of those images, and he did a bang-up job on them! Crafty Bill wasn't done yet though, he had another great SUICIDE SQUAD commission in mind. This one would feature the Squad on an island, pitted with the '50s movie monster THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS! Not only that, but he wanted the heroine, Karin Grace, to be wearing a wetsuit, carrying a bazooka, and he wanted the Beast to be destroying a lighthouse in the midst of everything else. Bill doesn't ask for much, does he?
I really got into it, and produced this fun little illustration:
Surely all the stops had been pulled out by now. There was nowhere else to go, right? Flying platforms in Paris, giant snakes, enormous movie monsters from retro cinema.... Could there possibly be a way to top all that?? I didn't think so. Once again I figured wrong. Bill came back to me a fourth time with what I thought to be another bold idea. The Suicide Squad would be fighting deadly microscopic organisms inside a blood vessel in President Eisenhower's brain! It was a tip of the hat to the FANTASTIC VOYAGE movie, which was always a favorite of mine! So I began to think about this one. I was going to have to draw the Squad miniaturized in environment suits, fighting bacteria, etc amidst a sea of red blood cells. This concept would require a LOT of detail, so I had to worry about how busy the composition might become, as well as worry about contrast and depth. I would have to also do this one as a double-page spread. While that meant more room to work, it also meant twice the space to fill, two times the work to do, and double the challenges to meet. Ah, Bill... Heh. Fans of the film THE FANTASTIC VOYAGE will noticed that I made the ship in the background a sister ship to the CMDF's PROTEUS. I had to do so much work on this one. Every single object in this two-page spread had to be masked off and cut out individually on the board using frisket and an exact-o knife! It took a long time to do this one, but I was extremely happy with the results! Finally, I got to draw the Squad members large on the page:
Alright then. That's my first COMMISSION SHOWCASE from my DA gallery. I hope to show-off a few more commissions in the future, and I'll be happy to discuss them. If you have any questions about any of these, please drop me a line in the comments. Also, if you'd like to contact me about getting a commission (Christmas time's a comin'!), please drop me a note here on DA. I use PAYPAL to accept all payments, and prices depend on your descriptions. The more detailed the work, the more expensive it will be, but I try to keep the prices as reasonable as I can manage.
Thanks for looking!