Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mahmud Asrar Process Pieces

Thanks to everyone for letting me know about iFanboy's recent article with Supergirl artist Mahmud Asrar. In the post, Asrar reviews his four favorite Supergirl covers as well as breaking down the process of creating the cover for Supergirl #65. Here is the link:
As always, please visit the site and read the whole piece. It is great to hear Asrar's ideas about Supergirl.

Now if there is one thing I love as a comic fan, it is process discussion. I love hearing about the evolution of scripts and art as they go from idea to completion. So this was my favorite part of the piece. Here is Asrar's discussion and my usual commentary.

Creating the Supergirl #65 Cover:

For this one, I had a tight deadline. Maybe just a few days. The idea for it was that Supergirl would be involved with a group called the Pajama Society and the editors wanted to convey a horror vibe. So I came up with a couple of sketches where Supergirl was trying to escape from this mob who looked like they were out to get her. The trick was we didn't want Supergirl beating up on these people, neither did we want her to look helpless. So I've tried to convey her agitation and distress while still remaining a powerful female character.

You can notice a compassion she has for people even though they're out to get her. This is in contrast of the new Supergirl cover of course where she looks stalwart, heroic yet a little distanced.

This explains why the cover doesn't necessarily jibe with the inside story. The Pajama Society aren't bad guys in the book. But here Asrar was told to give it a horror vibe and treat them as a mob. But I love how he talks about this Supergirl, distressed but powerful, not wanting to pound on these people. This distinguishes her from his approach to the DCnU Kara.

The cover has always reminded my of Action Comics #499.

As for my process, I initially come up with a loose sketch, either in my sketchbook or digitally. Sometimes both. Once it's approved and we've discussed further on it with my editors I move on to pencils. 

This is the stuff I love seeing. This is the thumbnail for the cover, the seed that grew into the final product. I wonder if there were other ideas tossed around before this one was settled on. When Josh Middleton was on the covers, he occasionally put process pieces on his blog including the thumbnails not used. I love that stuff.

When I ink myself I tend to do really loose pencil roughs. I just put in all the essentials for the figures, proportions, composition and lighting. 

Here are the loose pencils. The cover is there, but not polished yet.

The grunt work comes in with the inks where I finalize the image.

Amazing how sharp everything becomes once the ink is applied. I can't wait to see Asrar on interiors as well, especially given his marker approach. I hope we will see some process stuff on his own blog.


Gear said...

The more I look at Mahmud Asrar's work the more I think that Supergirl is in good hands in the art department. Like everyone else I have some doubts about the writing, character, and potential story direction, but Asrar's art is fantastic.

valerie21601 said...

The art on the new Supergirl series doesn't worry me with Asrar in charge of it.

It's the writers and how they are going to handle the character and her story lines are going to go that worries me.