Let me tell you a little secret: I LOVE comic-based movies where the heroes are female. At the climactic moment of Endgame –which I have unfortunately not seen since its theatrical release (poverty sucks)– when Pepper Potts, Shuri, Gamora, Okoye, Captain Marvel, Scarlet Witch and all the other badass women get all together to face Thanos, I was jumping up and down my seat with joy. I believe strong fantasy/science-fiction characters are very important so that little girls can grow up empowered with these imaginary role models, the same way we geek guys grew up wishing to be like Luke Skywalker or Batman –if I had a little girl, you bet your ass I would like her to admire princess Leia and Rey!
Which is why when my client Andrew Mark Sewell –who had already commissioned me a Star Trek-based illustration with him and his business partner Helen Quigley— asked me to create an illustration with his lovely wife Catrin as Wonder Woman, and their daughter Amelia as little Diana (as portrayed in the new movie) I knew this commission was gonna be F-U-N.
After Andrew sent me a ton of reference material of Catrin and Amelia, we fist needed to figure out the adequate location that could be a) easily recognizable, and b) would not take half a month to complete. We settled for the beach which was used in the scene when Diana first meets Steve Trevor, which happens to be a real-life location in Italy.
Andrew already knew he wanted to appeared tied up by WW’s lasso, and that instead of wearing the new cinematic costume, Catrin should be wearing the costume used in the Justice League animated series. Amelia, on the other hand, should be wearing the training uniform showed in the early promotional images showed by Warner Brothers (this commission was finished months before the release of the movie) and since I loved the dynamic pose she assumed while throwing a paper airplane, I suggested it could be changed so she would be wielding a spear. Only left thing to do –as far as the main figures in the composition– was to decide what sort of character Andrew would play out in our little fanart scenario; we figured out that instead of the costume of Ares, the god of war, which was used in the 2017 movie, we would use instead the comic-book version.
One last thing Andrew requested for the piece, was to somehow include Amelia’s beloved stuffed animal, a grayish rabbit which might have been white when brand new. I’m not a hardcore comic-book geek, but I told Andrew how I remembered that in the DC canon, the island of Themyscira was inhabited by giant kangaroo-like creatures called Kangas, and that Wonder Woman had one of them as pet called Jumpa –little effort coming out with that name, DC– which she would ride like a Tauntaun. Maybe we could have the stuffed pet rabbit riding the imaginary pet Kanga? Andrew loved the idea, especially because Amelia’s mom happens to be Australian.
Since I’m always trying to improve my digital painting skills, this time I chose to paint the background using the brushes found in Jason Heeley’s set, which proved very useful to simulate the waves and reflections in the sea, the soft clouds in the sky and the white rocks in the background. I think I also used the hardline brush in the Pastel set for the sand dunes in the beach –I just moved 180 degrees the direction of the stroke, so they would look like depressions instead of mounds. With the main figures I chose to stick to what I know and mainly used the Conceptual 1 brush in the Artist set, which gives you a lot of control and can either give you soft shadings or more pronounced transitions depending on how you tweak the settings. As for the ‘glow’ in WW’s lasso, I think I used the glow brush, although you can get the same results if you paint the lasso in a pure white, and underneath this layer you paint the yellowish glow with a simple airbrush –this effect also works when painting light sabers or laser blasts.
Aside from a few minor edits to get the hair color of Catrin and Amelia right, Andrew was very pleased with the end result, as were I 🙂
Remember, you too can show your heroic side with a customized fan art commission!