Making Superheroes

Posted on: Dec 17, 2015

I love getting commissions to design something unusual. In the past I’ve been given carte blanche to create wall art for a friend, earlier this year I designed a unique squirrel tattoo, and just recently I turned two people into superheroes.

My client Kirsty came to me with an idea to surprise her husband for their second anniversary. As the traditional present for 2 years is paper, she wanted a poster with them both depicted as superheroes, and she’d also seen a bespoke wedding invitation I’d designed with the bride and groom as retro-style cartoon characters.

Kirsty was a great client in that she already had some brilliant ideas – she knew which superpowers they both would have (after conducting some surreptitious research on her unsuspecting husband!) As she is always cold, she would be an ‘ice queen’ with the power to control ice, and her husband wanted the power to heal. They both requested the ability to fly (wise choice). She also made it easier for me by knowing the colours of their superhero costumes – green and blue for her, purple and red for Robin.

Superheroes sketch
Preliminary sketches of Kirsty and Robin

So I carried out some Facebook stalking (with Kirsty's permission) to get some photos of them both and start sketching. I was lucky that they both had features that could lend themselves to cartoonification – Kirsty has fantastic long, naturally red hair, and Robin has a strong jawline and quiffed hair to rival Clarke Kent! I decided Robin would wear a doctor's coat and Kirsty would have icicles on the end of her hair and be surrounded by snowflakes. 

Superhero poses sketch
Sketches to find a pose fit for a superhero

The thing I found tricky was getting the right pose – they would have to both fit into an A3 portrait format. I looked at lots of comics to get the classic flying pose for Robin and the levitating pose for Kirsty. I must admit, my rusty anatomy skills were really showing me up at this stage! But I didn’t want to just copy a comic book, I wanted to do it in my own style, so stayed away from the big boobs and bursting muscles and kept it simple.

Real life superheroes
The first character draft. I felt Kirsy's face needed to be livened up a bit!

The final result was a hit with the husband, and I’m really pleased with it. If you know Kirsty and Robin, I hope you’ll think that I got a good likeness! I’m hoping it will lead to more commissions in the same vein, so if you know anyone that’s looking for some unique wall art, send them my way.

Anniversary comission superheroes
The final A3 poster


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