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pentacles, magic

A nice cup of rabies

Rantings with occasional art.

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pentacles, magic
My studio kinda looks like an explosion happened in it. In a good way - I spent several hours today hunched over the drawing board instead of over the computer, putting together a rough suggestion for the packaging for my Tarot deck.

Then after that I was still in the mood to draw kinda big. So I pulled out this big sketchbook I'd started a little while back with some big, messy drawings of Batman, done mostly with the blunt end of a Prismacolor.

After drawing those I'd pondered "well, what kind of story would I want to do if I did a Batman story?" and decided that it should involve lots of Harley Quinn because she's fun to draw, then come up with a vague excuse for her to be working with Batman instead of against him: she thinks the Joker's current plot will end up backfiring and killing the Joker, so teams up to save him from himself. Looking at a different side of a not-quite-triangle than usual, you know? Having this hanging around in my head when I re-opened this sketchbook resulted in me distilling down my own versions of Harley and the Joker. The whole thing just kinda looks like fashion illustration - my favorite versions of all of them are long-legged and attentuated.

(sorry about the shitty cell-phone photos, I don't have the scanner set up just yet and these are big and sloppy anyway.)

I will probably never draw this, though Nick looked at my drawings and listened to my ideas on how to handle the characters and said he'd kinda like to write them. Dealing with their costumes was interesting; I played with different things and really asked myself what they need to have to do what they do. Ultimately the only thing I really did was to put a few more layers on Harley to help her survive a chilly Gotham night; I kept the outfits pretty standard for Batman and the Joker. I'd probably shift Bat's palette from the usual grey-blue-black with a yellow accent to black/purple with a yellow accent, to make him fit my vision of him as basically an American ninja in a vampire costume. (And shifting Harley from black/red/white to purple/green/something might create some interesting color narratives with the green/purple/orange the Joker would probably end up with. Dunno. Timm's design for her costume is so striking and succinct it's hard to improve on.)

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Re: vengeance, the night, etc.

If you do an image search for "Harley Quinn" it seems to be about 1/3 Timm's images or people hewing close to them, 1/3 people putting a lot of extra stuff on top of Timm's costume, and 1/3 the fetish nurse costume from the "Arkham Asylum" game.

Oh, and there's also a certain chunk that're attempts to re-imagine her as a companion to the Heath Leger Joker.

Draw me a yiffy man-bat, Peggy!

Ooh, Russian martian batman. That's a deep cut right there.

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The more I think about it the more meat it has. Take this incompetent psychiatrist turned zany villain and make her try to get along with this man who's got more baggage than an entire airline's carrying at any given moment. It writes itself. Having the opportunity for some kind of crazy, impractical, show-offy Joker scheme at the end is just icing on the cake.

For some reason, they remind me a little bit of Sam Keith's version of Batman (which was my favourite) They're totally different of course. Huge bodies with tiny pencil heads but... Same sort of appeal, I think.

I've only seen that briefly, when flipping through an issue in the comic book store, but I was definitely thinking of the amount of liberty he took with the character while drawing some of these. (These are only about 25% of the drawings; I left out a bunch that didn't really gel.)

You know, that's one of the strengths of Batman. You can tweak the costume, and tweak the visual depiction, and take stylization in outrageous directions, and it just adds to the moodiness and atmosphere. When you try to stylize Superman, it just looks like a parody.

Another good Highly Stylized Bat-Artist was Norm Breyfogle, who was one of the main artists of the late '80s and early '90s. Norm, among his other memorable moments, created The Ventriloquist and Scarface.

Mr. J. looks uncannily like an old EC Horror Host here.

(DC's used him as such in a couple of recent "Joker's Asylum" minis ... )

Huh, yeah, drop his hair down and he does get a serious Cryptkeeper vibe, doesn't he. Keep it up in the air and he's still definitely an EVIL CLOWN.

I love the little "oh wait Nick said NOT to use him as a base" bit. :)

When I told him about my take on the Joker he relented and said it was kinda awesome despite being inspired by him. But I'm not gonna make the Joker look like him!

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