Three pictures from the same source—Robert Rodriguez’ cinematic interpretation of Frank Miller’s Sin City (actually drawn from pictures on my Soundtrack CD.) Hartigan (Bruce Willis) from That Yellow Bastard, Miho (Devon Aoki) from The Big Fat Kill, and Dwight (Clive Owen) also from The Big Fat Kill (drawn in that order).
All three images were sketched over the course of a few days, nearly drawn back-to-back. Each of these images takes up roughly a corner of the page in my sketchbook (somewhere around two-to-four inches wide.) Basically, I did approximately half a dozen warm-up exercises elsewhere on the page, leaving one corner clean to do a nicer sketch.
I want to stress the word sketch because none of these were intended as final official renders. Each one took in the neighborhood of an hour, give or take twenty-minutes (and that includes the warm-ups.) Like I said, quickie sketches—I wanted to work on reproducing imagery from a source, and hit specific details of facial construction, and threw lots of the concerns of a full-blown render to the wind.
Drawing for the sake of a sketch is much more liberating than drawing for the sake of a formal final render.
I think it’s interesting that my knack for tilting pictures to the left (see Noria) popped up here in the Hartigan and Miho sketch (not so much Dwight) ... and that tilt really hurt the Hartigan sketch. His pose on the cover is that of a man towering with gun in-hand—a powerful and menacing pose which drew to the image in the first place. That awkward tilt in my render makes Hartigan look off balance, maybe stuck up? It doesn’t carry the slick sense of menace I wanted.
My favorite of the three is Miho—I can’t put my finger on exactly why, though. None of them feel like an image I would draw from my imagination, and the style of all three drawings feel foreign to me—I wouldn’t draw like this unless I was consciously trying to explore another artist’s style. While I do like the angle on Hartigan, and play of light and darkness on Dwight, they don’t really click for me. (I like the sketches for what they are.) But there’s something about the way Miho is sketched that is alien to my style, but somehow still clicks.
I feel somewhat neutral on the Dwight sketch. I liked the abstractness of the source, and it’s a fair interpretation—it takes a moment of study to really see the image as a whole. At the same time, I missed a number of subtle opportunities which don’t kill the image, but it still holds it back. But, hell, it’s just a sketch.
I’ve toyed with the idea of doing full-blown renders of all three. One of these days ... one of these days ... and who knows. I may eventually tackle something from Frank Miller’s original graphic novels. It’s definitely worth exploring.