SPIDER-MAN


PRE-PRODUCTION CONCEPT ART

SPIDER-MAN


I used to draw Spider-Man when I was a kid. The dynamic poses and incredible artwork were the instant attraction, but what kept me interested was the writing. He seemed like a real life super hero, or at least someone you could relate to. He had money problems, girl problems, and even problems with the local cops, but yet he still stuck to it. (pun) When I was approached by costume designer James Acheson to work on the first Spidey film I was very excited. I had worked on Sam Raimi’s Army of Darkness and was a big fan already. Then I found myself drawing Spider-Man like when I was a kid.


I created concept art of Spidey in action poses, but also in static front and rear poses. then I received photos of actor Tobey Maguire and digitally painted a Spidey suit over him. This was a fairly good approximation of how the suit would work with his proportions. This was also a first step in answering the question - how different could the film suit look compared to the comics. I created some concept art with design variations, but it became obvious that he had to look as close as possible to the Spider-Man everyone knows from the comics, otherwise what’s the point. There were three things that would set the film’s suit apart though: one, the raised webbing; two, the image of musculature printed onto the fabric; and three, the subtle pattern printed over the fabric.


The raised webbing was started by James Acheson physically drawing on a body suit over a life cast of Tobey Maguire. The body suit was deconstructed and scanned 1:1. I created vector paths from the pattern and fine tuned the flow of lines. Then that pattern was used to create a 3D mold, parts were pulled and adhered to the suit. It was a painstaking process for everyone involved, but worth it in the end. During that process, I created the vector image for the spiders on his chest and back.


The musculature image printed on the fabric also started from a body suit on the life cast. An airbrush artist painted the general forms of dark and light over the suit. In the comics Spidey is ripped, but a body suit tends to smooth out the definition below. The idea was to trick the eye into believing there was more definition than what showed through the stretched fabric. Another artist from Sony Image Works defined the image digitally. Acheson wanted me to work from their foundation to create the final printed image. It was a great collaboration and very effective in tricking the eye.


The use of a subtle grid pattern printed over the whole suit tied it all together. It was very effective in eliminating the appearance of a fabric and created another dimension to the surface.

 

SPIDER-MAN CONTINUED


I also created concept art for the Green Goblin. I really like the Goblin from the comics because he always reminded me of halloween. My first concepts were very close to the comic version because I wanted the character to retain his method of intimidation through fear. Technology would be secondary to psychology, and so he could look like a demon. But alas, he went the high tech route. There was much concern over whether or not the audience could see actor Willem Defoe’s performance. I created quite a few concepts of the mask’s eye lenses articulating to reveal his eyes, and then the whole mask hinging open to reveal most of his face.


Click Here to check out my interview with Spider-Man Hype.com


SPIDER-MAN 3


Due to other commitments, I did not spend a great deal of time working on Spider-Man 3. James Acheson contacted me to create some artwork for the venom suit. His approach was essentially the same as it was for the Spidey suit - to print an image over a fabric to maximize the actor and stunt man’s flexibility while maintaining the illusion of defined form. This time however, the fabric had to stretch much more, so the illustration had to be that much more defined.
At this point the concept art had already been created, so I was tasked with creating the image for the full size printing onto fabric. I drew an image of alien musculature in scale and then scanned the drawing at high resolution. Then I digitally painted the image, and the final step was to add a texture to give it more dimension. I really enjoyed creating those pieces because they’re pretty abstract when taken out of context.


The relatively easy part of the job was to turn Spidey’s suit black. No, I didn’t just slide the brightness and contrast controls in Photoshop. There was some digital painting involved and lots of finessing the opacity of the overlaid grid texture compared to the dark value range of the suit.

 
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