Every evil mastermind needs an assistant. His pale eyes are wide open, and his long, bony fingers timidly hold the magic lantern.
I planned this character first in red Nupastel and charcoal on a separate piece of tracing paper. I then sealed the drawing with workable fixatif and transferred it down to the primed board, using transfer paper I made with graphite on another piece of tracing paper.
The charcoal step allows me to solve a lot of problems early on when things are easy to change. It's the storytelling stage of picture-making.
I shot some photo reference of a timid, creepy looking model, and also built a little maquette.
Fun fact #1: The painting Birdman was one of the candidates for the cover of Color and Light, but lost out to a crowd-sourced blog poll for the final cover image of the sleeping dinosaur.
Fun fact #2: The oil painting was a revision of a paperback cover illustration called The Fleet: Counterattack. I gave him a mane of feathers like a harpy eagle, an embroidered jacket, and a little Quasimodo assistant to carry out his dark designs.