Casual Superheroine
Superheroine in casual clothes.

There’s so much wrong with this drawing, and yet ... but, hey, what else is new at the Dark Side of the Soul?

I’ve grown tired of drawing straight on figures (never mind the tiny detail that I’ve far from mastered drawings straight on figures), and I’ve wanted to move more into the realm of dynamic angles and dynamic poses which means lots of foreshortening which means 99.999% of the time I’m screwed. I’ve started many a doodles and trashed most of them a few shorts minutes later.

Going into this drawing, pretty much all I had worked out was “female figure in flying pose.” Par for the course, everything else was conceived as it was drawn. I didn’t have a direct reference, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking of Rogue from X-men. I guess Supergirl also being an airborne heroine would assume similar poses, but I’ve never much liked DC. Anyway, I pretty much started with her head and worked down her figure (hence why her right foot is cut off at the page’s edge).

I knew I wanted her to have more normal clothes because if I ever did a superhero comic book my characters would fight crime in whatever they happen to have on at the time instead of carrying around their costume everywhere they go. And, really, would a crime fighter really have time to change outfits before stopping a crazed Super villain from destroying the city? Patience is not one of the traits I imagine psychopathic egomaniacs possess. Maybe Superman, being faster than a bullet, can make time to switch outfits, but for most other superheroes I imagine sad scenes where they sit down with little Timmy to explain, “sorry I couldn’t save your dad from Doctor Dieslowly. But my zipper was stuck, and I couldn’t let them see my real wardrobe choices.” I hate bringing up the word realism in regards to fiction, but the type of fiction I most enjoy at least pays lip service to realism. Besides, even in Superman: The Movie, Clark Kent saves Lois Lane’s life without breaking out the ol’ blue pajamas.

That and, more importantly, I generally find normal attire on women sexier than exotic outfits.

Anyway, I kinda like this outfit even if it is a typical design for me. Were it not a quasi-exercise in dynamic figure drawing, I’d of liked to have added a loose fitting garment (probably an open button-up top of some sort, given my clichés) but that’s another project for another day when I tackle rendering fabric more realistically. For what I was after, I needed to go with tight form-fitting clothes.

There’s issues with her head being placed off center, some subtle screwups in the muscle structure of her arms, a perspective issue with the heel of her boot, and most glaring of all: her abdomen which just doesn’t quite seem to connect her hips to her rib cage properly. I wanted her to be turning mid-flight, and so her torso should be twisting a little, and yeah, it didn’t get worked out right. I think the problem is mostly in the right side of her torso (frame left) should be stretched resulting in a straight line rather than the noticeable “V”.

But, hey, what are you going to do without a reference?

With the background, I wanted to do something simple that more suggests a setting versus a fully realized background with details, details, details. Silhouette buildings came to mind, and I can always work on drawing clouds which for some reason always come out looking more like weird bean-bag pillows or stretches of fabric than clouds. The weird thing is I kinda like it, but at the same time it irritates the hell out of me. I hate the idea of it being my style because it’s the only thing I can do; I’d feel a lot better if I could deliberately render clouds however I wanted. I guess that really means I need to draw more landscapes with clouds in them until I get it down. It’s not like I have an overabundance of landscapes here at DSotS

And lastly, I tend to go through phases as I try out different rendering techniques. I went through a long phase where I’d leave pencil strokes intact and rarely use the erase for defining highlights, but lately, I’ve picked up the blending stump and eraser which brings me to the part of this drawing I like the most: between the angle, the pose, the background, strokeless shading, and eraser-enhanced highlights on the underside of her figure, this drawing has a different look and feel than pretty much anything that’s come before it.

—Jay Wilson