Drawing Board Lo, There Shall Be A Wedding!

So, as some of you may know, I am engaged to the greatest woman in the world.

Our wedding date is fast approaching, so in January we sat down to work on an save-the-date card. And proceeded to draw a great big blank. We tried drawing inspiration from various sources. Art Deco ironwork. Edward Gorey. Mexican sugar skulls. Nothing seemed to be working.

And then Dorothy made an offhand joke about Big Barda, which somehow lead us to this...

Bedlam at the Baxter BuildingFantastic Four Annual #3, p. 1

It's the comic book wedding to end all comic book weddings, right? So why not use this as the inspiration for our save-the-date card?

9-up sketches

These are the initial sketches I presented to Dorothy after we'd decided on this approach. I had a feeling we wouldn't wind up straying too far away from Kirby's initial design but wanted to present some variants just in case. I kind of like blustering, overdramatic Doom (second from the left) myself. There's just something classic about that pose.

Didn't matter. We kept coming back to that original splash page.

3-up sketches

Here's the second round of sketches, based off of the designs Dorothy marked with a star above. You can see some of the other designs are losing a bit of energy as they become more concrete. And, if you can read my chicken scratch you might notice that Doom's dialogue is actually based on his diatribe from the second page of Fantastic Four Annual #3.

Anyway, it's clear that the original idea is the clear winner. I'm not going to show you the fourth round of sketches, since all I was doing was figuring out the finer points of the placement of the newspaper. We wanted to lower it far enough to show more of Doom's face than in the original splash page, but not low enough that one could see the big-ass medallions holding his cloak in place.

pencil and inked versions

Here's the final pencils, side-by-side with the inked and colored version. I used Photoshop to drop in the newspaper text, and used Manga Studio to generate the starburst and the halftone patterns for Doom's armor. Yes, I suppose I could have dug up my crowquill from the basement and worked up my own starburst but I was feeling lazy. And I tend to make a huge mess whenever I do that. To get the darker gray I trapped the shaded areas you see on the pencil sketch and used that as a mask for the heavier tone. There's also some tonee on Doom's cloak to make it darker than the starburst.

Unfortunately, when I went down to Commonwealth Press to get these printed we discovered that the halftone screens I was using were way too fine to reproduce well. (I had used 75 lpi screens, and they prefer 30 lpi screens.) We noodled around with the Photoshop files for a bit trying to see if we could make them work, and eventually decided to make the lighter gray a separate color. That wound up bumping up the price but hey, you only get married once.

final version

There you go. The coolest save-the-date card in the world.

Well, unless Doctor Doom really does crash the reception with his emotion charger. Then things will get awkward.

Commonwealth Press

So, the guys at Commonwealth Press (purveyors of fine t-shirts and official printer of this blog) ran into a bit of trouble today when a vandal threw a brick through the big plate glass window at the front of their store. Totally sucks. Why not drop by and buy a few shirts to help cover the repair costs?

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