Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New Element: My Avenger's Project

This post has spoilers for Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and The Avengers. You can skip to the third paragraph and to my artwork if you don't wish to be spoiled. 

So, last month while trying to work vigorously on my graphic novel, I was struck with inspiration once again. The Avengers. It is definitely one of the top films of this year, and there has been so many good ones and there as of yet to be more good ones to be released! However, The Avengers really spoke to me as a narrative, which is based solely on the character arcs (which is based primarily on Joss Whedon's writing!). I really enjoyed the different places this cast of characters were coming from and how they came together to fight and avenge the earth! Even the villain was fascinating to me and so I decided to get my ideas out through an ambitious art project. I started with Iron Man, who is my favorite avenger. His story arc was already strong and came from the genius of Jon Favreau who made Iron Man and Iron Man 2. What draws me to Tony Stark's story is not only because he is played by the fabulous Robert Downey Jr., but is the journey his character goes through and still is going through. A lot of what Iron Man is about is the idea of change, redemption, renewal of character, inner transformation. This idea is exemplified through this process of Tony Stark becoming the Iron Man; his core reactor that is keeping him alive playing a key part in that metaphor. In Iron Man we meet Tony Stark, an ambitious genius who is highly successful, but completely narcissistic, consumed with pleasuring himself and uncaring of anyone around him. From out of that deadness, he is given a second chance and a new life. In Iron Man 2, we find Tony facing his worst enemy again, himself, and slipping back into old habits until he is able to once again be "renewed", represented in his creating the new element for his core reactor. So, this idea of needing to be transformed or sanctified continually that plays out in the character of Tony Stark as he is physically becoming Iron Man is fascinating to me because it is very much like the transformation that we can find in Christ and His Spirit that is meant to dwell within us. Christ's death puts to death the old man and His resurrection gives us new life which is renewed day by day, to one degree or another. "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind..." Romans 12:2. "[...] But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:11. "And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:18.

   Tony Stark's character arc is furthered in The Avengers where he is faced with having to work with a team, something he does not do well. His arrogance, overbearing wit, and seeming uncaring for the seriousness of any situation clashes hard against the dutiful and selfless member of the Avengers, Steve Rogers (Captain America). Finding nothing impressive about Mr. Stark whatsoever, Steve claims that when it comes down to it, Tony Stark would not have the courage or the character to make that sacrifice for the sake of his country or his team. I love how this comes around full circle in the end, when Tony Stark makes that choice of self-denial and nearly dies because of it. This act of self-sacrifice would have been unthinkable for the man that was first presented to us in Iron Man. That is why I am pretty excited for Iron Man 3, which seems to be continuing this theme.

   All of this to explain the thought process that went behind this image that I created of the character. I chose to do the image in a more painterly style, with a combination of my pencil work and Photoshop painting. I am still striving for that movement in my artwork, and so I elongated the figure and had the background push and pull the eye around him. The piece is entitled New Element and I have placed emphasis at the core of Tony Stark, which is the heart of Iron Man. So the core reactor is the focal point with the color red emphasizing this idea, and then the colors run out into more neutral tones as you get further away from the center.  I have also put in an almost silhouette image of his lovely Pepper Potts, who is very crucial to his transformation. She is his colleague, support, and dearest friend. It is by her pushing him and believing in him that keeps Tony in check and inspires him. She is very crucial to the character of Iron Man and his motivations.


Here is a detail:


What I am aspiring to do with this Avenger's Project is to make these "character study" pieces of each character and bring that to life through my style. I will, however, only be creating them as inspiration leads. So far I only have fully fleshed out ideas for Hawk Eye/Black Widow (I am combining them) and Loki. I am also going to be juggling this amongst my other projects, so we will see what goes on. For now I hope you enjoy this artwork of Iron Man and my thoughts on the character. 

6 comments:

  1. Excellent, my dear sister. Quite excellent.
    Nevertheless, you have yet to convince that Tony Stark is truly admirable or likable. But isn't that an accurate reflection of man, in relation to the tie you gave to Tony representing man's natural state? We are very unlikable creatures. hehe! Too bad Tony will always be obnoxious.
    Okay, this argument is old now. haha

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    1. The argument is never old. ;) I guess you could pull that theme out of it, but you are the only one I have known so far who doesn't like Tony! Haha.

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  2. Awww Erika is so mean! Tony is hysterical. ;-) But more importantly I agree that he is very interesting as a character because of the journey he is going through. He has to go from being totally selfish to totally selfless and that takes time for any person, let alone someone who is rich and full of themselves because they are genius innovators hehe. Most of the heroes have to struggle in one form or another, but most of them already start out with a good sense of righteousness, whereas Tony didn't. He has to learn that all the hard way and that's what makes him stand out against other comic book characters. You watch him stumble and fall in a moral way that other heroes usually already have in place. Avengers and Iron Man 3 I think will really show his transformation more.

    But on a more related note haha, your drawing is AWESOME!!!!! I seriously died because it's so your style too. You could totally sell these at comicon. I can't wait to see all the other characters!

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    1. I agree! Thanks for elaborating on his character. It is true that he is different from the other super heroes in that way. All the others seem to start from some state of selflessness or caring about someone other than themselves. Tony, however, doesn't struggle with being a hero or having power or having to save the world like the other heroes usually end up doing. So, I like the twist in his story from the usual. :)

      I am glad you liked my piece! I would love to sell these at Comicon. That would be great! We will see, though.

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  3. I also want to mention that before I even scrolled down and read that you were going to put Hawkeye and Black Widow together that I totally instantly saw that haha! I definitely want to see you do all of them, you totally could. I see both a separate Thor and Loki and one of them together. I see a saddened version of Bruce Banner and Hulk, I see Captain America with sort of a theme as "the soldier out of time" as Loki puts it in the movie hehe. I even see one of Nick Fury and Agent Colson. There's so much you can do, but as you said as inspiration leads. ;-)

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    1. Great minds think a like! Haha. That is awesome. I have thought about Bruce having a saddened version and Captain America having the theme of "the solider out of time" too! I hadn't planned on a Loki/Thor or a Nicky or Agent Colson one, but those would be cool to make! Maybe I will. ;)

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