#26Characters: H for Heckler

Growing up I didn’t have the ready access to new comics that most kids in more developed parts of the world did. Most of the ones I ended up reading were DC & Marvel stuff years out of date, fragments of larger stories I had no hope of being able to collect the full sets […]

#26Characters: G for Guybrush

Here, finally, is the next #26Characters post. When I started this project, one of the names on the list of characters pretty early on was that of Guybrush Threepwood, star of the Monkey Island series of games from LucasArts. The Secret of Monkey Island had a profound effect on me as a child. It was […]

#26Characters – F for Fandorin

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Continuing this series with a bit of a quickie (as in, it didn’t take me three hours and several abandoned attempts), this is F for Fandorin.

#26characters fandorin

Erast Petrovich Fandorin is the protagonist of a series of novels by Boris Akunin. Fandorin is smart, stylish, and a talented (and lucky) detective. Fandorin is a bit of Sherlock Holmes, a bit of James Bond, and a bit of Batman. The novels he stars in are as enjoyable and witty as such a cocktail of ingredients is likely to produce.

#26characters a-f complete

With this one speed was of the essence; even with a bit of dawdling, I completed it in under 90 minutes. I went for coloured linework instead of basic blacks this time, which gives it less of a graphic look than previous ones, but is one step further on the exploratory road that this project takes me on.


#26Characters – E for Emma Frost

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Well, it’s been a while. When I started this project I made a quick list of names from A-Z spanning fictional characters, mostly the first thing that sprung to mind. My friend @OldMonkMGM on twitter wondered if I was taking requests, and then asked if I could draw Emma Frost next. I said yes, of course — my earlier stand-in for E was pretty crappy anyway 🙂

That means this list is by no means permanent, so if you have a specific request, feel free to drop me an email or a tweet @allvishal. So far, the letters H & M are spoken for, but there’s plenty more alphabets to choose from. 🙂

#26characters e for emma frost

Emma Frost, formerly of the villanous Hellfire Club, is now the leader of the X-Men. You may remember her from the excellent film X-Men First Class, where she was played — badly — by January Jones. Ms. Frost is known for her telepathic powers, her ability to turn into a diamond-like substance, and for her skimpy outfits.

Seriously, many of her costumes are just lingerie, fur coats and boots. I went with what I am told is her latest incarnation, which at least has pants instead of a thong. I quite like the costume, especially the way the cape sits, and I’m a sucker for anything with opera gloves.

(Now if only I could actually draw hands and feet)

#26characters e for emma frost

Much as I try, these take a lot longer to do right now, at my current skill level, than traditional drawing. So consequently, I’m never really happy with the results, and the same is true in this case.

There’s several elements I like about this one, but much of it is the result of my hands getting tired. I wrestle with the tablet in ways I do not (and can not) with a real pen. Chalk it up to the combination of a hard plastic interacting with another hard plastic, and the disconnect between looking at a screen and moving your hand somewhere else.

I may possibly need better hardware — my tablet is a simple, cheap one by Genius — but I know where this rabbit hole leads, and I’m not prepared to plonk down thousands of dollars for a Cintiq.

#26characters a-e complete

I may have to get looser with these, more sketchy, more painterly, but the latter of those two is completely uncharted territory, and every time I try I end up with a mess. Oh well, this is nothing if not an excuse to fail, and then fail better the next time.

And, overall, I think I am failing a little better with each one.


#26Characters – D for Dejah Thoris

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It’s fairly uncharacteristic of me to go a whole three entries in any project without drawing a woman. Well, here we are at #26characters 4th entry, D for Dejah Thoris, and you will not be surprised to note that I spent a lot of time getting this one right.

#26characters d for dejah thoris

Ms. Thoris is the princess of the empire of Helium on Barsoom, sometimes known as Mars. Despite this she does not, as far as I know, speak in a squeaky voice. Mars has very strange weather too, because everyone wears skimpy clothing, yet all of this clothing is made of gold (anyone who has actually worn a gold chain in hot weather knows that it’s the most horrible feeling ever).

I’ve never actually read Edgar Rice Burroughs’s series of Martian novels. I did consider reading the first when the recent John Carter movie came out, but I neither saw the movie nor read any of the associated literature. I know, I’m a rebel.

I have, however, ogl–um, appreciated so much art based on the characters over the years, from pretty-much every major pulp and fantasy illustrator of the last century. So I approached Dejah with a lot of osmotic knowledge of what she and the world is supposed to look like. I wish I’d been more intricate with the jewelry, but I think three hours — yes, three hours — is enough time to have spent on this.

#26characters a-d complete

I’m happy that I’ve started to approach these in a more considered way, hewing rough gestural sketch without committing to a finished pose, and then working off that. I even made a half-hearted attempt at being more painterly with the colouring. It’s not great, but it’s a start. The column is a complete botch job, though.

Oh, here’s a little animated GIF of the basic process.

d for dejah thoris animated gif


#26Characters – C for C-3PO

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I’m trying to do #26characters more often, or we’ll be here forever. 🙂 Swiftly moving on to C, with the ever-lovable C-3PO, the true hero & romantic superstar of George Lucas’s Star Wars movies.

#26characters c for c-3po

Mr. 3PO — C to his friends — was born (some say constructed) on sunny Tattooine by a young & talented boy named Anakin Skywalker, while he was suffering from a passing bought of the midichlorians. Growing up a nudist, C soon came into money after single-handedly saving the colourful backwater of Naboo from… uh… somebody who was working for somebody else who had a plan about something. He got a gold body.

Anyway, he’s been everywhere and done everything. He is fluent in several languages and can run most moisture vaporators.

#26characters a-c complete

Bit of a quickie, this one, but I’m trying to get a handle on just drawing a line without having to re-do it several dozen times. I exaggerated the robotness of him a bit more than he is in the movies (where being played by a man in a suit does impose some restrictions on structure). Onward and upward.


PS No, I have no idea why he has a handbag either.

#26Characters – B for Batman

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The #26characters project continues with the letter B, and of course, I couldn’t help but do Batman. The answer to most problems is Batman. If you ever find yourself at a crossroads, the answer is probably also Batman. If you ask yourself who you love the most, it is Batman.

Batman Batman Batman.

#26characters b for batman

Batman is the alter ego of Bruce Wayne (or is that the other way around?) a caped crusader against some of the most vicious and wonderful villains of comic books in Gotham City. Do I really need to tell you Batman is?

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Still at the very earliest baby steps of learning how to do this, but having fun with it.


#26Characters – A for Arjun

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Despite having a graphics tablet for around 10 years now, I’ve never, ever practiced with it enough to learn how to properly use it. While I have been drawing much more than I used to, over on Today’s Doodle, I like to reserve that space for hand-drawn, pen & paper sketches. So, as a bit of a mini project to just get to grips — no pun intended — with a stylus, I’m going to draw an alphabet of characters.

#26characters a for arjun

The first entry in #26characters is Arjun (or, if you’re pedantic, Arjuna), mythological hero of the Mahabharata, master archer and all-round nice guy. I’m not particularly happy with this but I decided to start out simple with the kind of skills I have, which is basic linework and flat colours. It’s okay, I guess, for a couple of hours work, and as a beginning it’s not too bad considering my weakness with the stylus.

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#26characters will be added to whenever I get the free time & headspace. Stay tuned!