Sketching initial designs for Atom Blake

Script that I'm doing artwork on/sketching from is by Dustin Nelson.

I'm part of the group The Comic Jam, and while teaming up with some other artists for scripts for the weekly work that is released on the Comic Jam website, I've recently joined forces with 3 writers to pitch 3 stories to some publishers in the near future. I'm hoping to have these all done by March of next year; that's the plan, anyway.

This particular script outline was written by Dustin Nelson. He's had writing in Best American Experimental Writing, One Comic to Rule Them All, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, Fence, Men's Journal and elsewhere. He's the author of "in the office hours of the polar vortex" and is a staff writer for Thrillist. His website is: Give him a visit and follow his work!

This story will be an 8 page project. This is one of the characters from the story, and I'm just trying to get a feel for where I'm going to take him. I want the character to have some sort of appeal if he's to be held dear to anyone, because let's be honest, sometimes the writing can have the potential to take the character somewhere cool, and the design of the character can be so "meh" that you just never even pick the book up or give it a second look. In particular, I aim to really capture at least some glimmer of something that the character can cling to that can perhaps be brought out even more in the future.

For Atom here, it's the fact that Dustin wrote his description (without giving too much away) as "... a little dorky, but he's also immensely strong." My intent is to take that dork part that we all love, and I try to downplay the possibility of him being a jock or just generally a Superman or Batman type, and up play the aspect of him being maybe slightly more like a thinner geek or Blue Beetle or Robin or Invincible kind of character. I'm aiming for a likeable geek that has a bit of a sports physique. Someone that could possibly be underestimated as to just how strong or capable he really is.

I start out with sketching what I think would be the essential look. Now this is only one version, and I don't want to bore people in 8 pages, so hopefully I can come up with a look that's eye-catching and appealing enough to engage potential readers with his costumed look. One of my favorite ways of doing this is attacking the symmetry of the side profile, and the three-quarter profile of the characters look. I like to mess around in those areas and make things look more dynamic somehow. Usually just drawing lines along the symmetry of the initial look of the character will somehow help reveal the potential of the costume if I have some sort of theme in mind. Atom here is meant to be immensely strong, so I tried finding a general look for his mask, at first using a method trying to capitalize on the form of the skull. This didn't really look interesting or seem like it was heading anywhere special. So I switched it up and decided to incorporate the look somehow of a rhino. I think things started to go in a good direction after that.

Once I felt like the drawing was heading somewhere, then I tried to clean up the linework a little and sort of let this design sit for a while. I'll come back and do more work on the entirety of his suit, but for now I have to move on to the other characters in the story so that I can get a feel for them as I haven't even drawn them at all yet.

Hope you enjoy this installment of "things I'm working on" and I'll see you at the next post! Be sure to subscribe, like and follow me on your favorite social network! 

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