Saturday, March 14, 2009

Drawing an icon

Drawing an icon, in this case Judge Dredd, is an exhilarating experience...when you get it right that is. The understanding that you've captured a look that expresses that character well, to a very fussy public who have a clear image in their collective heads of what that character actually looks like, it's one of the perks of the job. When you get it right!
Dredd is a bloomin swine to draw! Or I should say he used to be. I could never agree with myself about certain aspects of his look, his chin mostly, but recently I realised I've finally learned how to draw him in a way that, to me, looks like my work but has a respectful nod to the gentlemen who are responsible for making him the icon he is today.
I've drawn a number of icons in my time, from Batman to Arzack (Jean 'Moebius' Giraud) but have never had so much trouble getting the character right than with Dredd. The helmet is the key. Or rather the proportions of the helmet in respect to his face, what you can see of it. Also, my decision to make him look as old as he is (not telling!) was my turning point. I'd love to draw Dredd as I remember him from when I used to read 2000AD back in the late 70's, young and dynamic, but he's moved on, like most of us, and so to draw him now means he HAS to look really old, craggy, faded and mysteriously still dynamic, despite his failing form. I'm sure my latest outing with JD will upset a few readers, those that think he should still look in his twenties, but you can't please all the people all the time...apparently.

In other news...not wanting to give too much away at this stage suffice to say that my DC contract arrived yesterday for a project that's been bubbling away for the past few months. I'm not at liberty right now to mention what the job is, I haven't as yet had clearance from my editor, but I can say that it's an amazing twist of fate. It's the very job I've been waiting for since 1998...hang on! That's over ten years! Ouch!
When I was working at DC all those years ago I kept pushing to do a certain kind of book with them. A book that I could be proud of. A book that I knew would sell well and that would help to firmly establish myself in the American comic book industry. This folks is that book! Watch this space for more soon...

7 comments:

Kevin Levell said...

Really nice Dredd as usual Dave, getting Dredd 'right' or 'just different enough' is tricky but you do seemed to have nailed your vision.

All sounds very exciting with the new book Dave - good luck with it. Look forward to hearing more... (you certainly are a master at baiting my breath!)

Randall Ensley said...

Gosh, that is a good post and great insight into your drawing an aged Dredd. I am 46 tomorrow and started reading 2000 AD when I was like 13. Judge Dredd was so different, and had humorous writing along with great action in succinct, 5-6 page stories. I enjoy popping into your blog occasionally to see what projects you are up to. Good luck!

D.TAYLOR said...

Cheers guys...
Kevin, at least it's nice to be thought of as a master in at least one thing!
Randall, happy birthday!

Ian Mayor said...

Congratulations on the DC contract, hope it's worth the ten year wait (crikey, ten years... funnily enough I realised the other day I had a script I'd dabbled with for about that long).

As for your Dredd, he's always looked good to me, I totally prefer the aging, Clint Eastwood, kind of look and you certainly hit that.

Antonio said...

Dave,

you are going to get a mail soon.
I need the truth...

;-)

D.TAYLOR said...

Ian, thanks for your comment, much appreciated. And isn't it time you got that script finished?!

Antonio, can you handle the truth?! ;)

Lee Townsend said...

Very nice Dredd Dave!
I think you have nailed it!