Sunday, January 11, 2009

Doodle Penance: "dr. strange model sheet"

We had a lot of interesting options for this week's "Doodle Penance," and we settled on one searcher's (implicit) request for a "dr. strange model sheet." Of course, my first impulse was to come up with a character named "Dr. Strangemodel," and design bedsheets with his visage, logo, etc. adorning them, but then I realized what the googler was probably looking for.

Mike and I resolved to do model sheets of Marvel's Dr. Strange, Sorceror Supreme, with the catch being that we'd draw these from memory, without consulting any reference material.

If you're not familiar with the term, a model sheet is something produced so that the artist drawing a character over and over again will get the key visual characteristics right. Doing one of these from memory is particularly perverse, since (at least for me) it meant fudging the details I could remember least well.

But I think my version actually turned out pretty close to accurate. This is a testament either to my obsessive adolescent reading of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe or to my visual memory—or perhaps (and most likely) to Steve Ditko's wonky design chops. The man could really design a hodgepodge costume.

Please click the image to enlarge, so you can read my notes. Having worked that up in my new (ungridded) notebook for 2009, I decided to go ahead and color the main sketch. Here you go.


...well, um, yeah. First, I gotta give props to Isaac, who clearly knew what he was doing. By contrast, here's my attempt:
I think I had the right idea, more or less, but this is vague in so many details. I knew the cape had something extravagant going on behind the head; I knew the cape was edged in a sort of brain coral pattern; I knew his hands were scarred; and I thought he might have a sash rather than a belt. But that shirt is wrong, wrong, wrong. I can plead genuine ignorance here: I don't think I ever owned a Dr. Strange comic, though I saw him as the occasional guest star in Spider-Man, and I skipped the Essential Doctor Strange because (a) a lot of the crazed visual effects seemed to disappear in black and white and (b) I don't really care about the character! I'm probably better acquainted with Doctor Orpheus, and even there I'm a few years out of date by now.

Anyhow, it was an interesting challenge, and it confirmed what we already knew: Isaac has a lot more Marvel in his head than I do. Like, a LOT.

Isaac replies:

For what it's worth, this is what Dr. Strange really looks like, as drawn by Paul Smith.

I definitely screwed up the collar shape, the pattern on his chest, the dots on his gloves, and the way the cape hangs over his shoulders. I might have messed up the facial hair. But I still think I did okay, considering how long it's been since I've seen Dr. Strange. Why, it's been days since I read the first Incredible Hercules collection, which shows Steve Strange in a couple of panels. (Come to think of it, though, I'm pretty sure that in those panels he's a little bit off-model.)

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