Iron Man Process

Friday, May 7, 2010

It all began with this sketch, which was deemed too close to a cover that had just been solicited. I decided to turn the figure around, a move that was lucky to get approval (so I was told).

Once I had gotten the basic pose locked in, I toyed with the idea of including the armory, something that my editor, Tom Brevoort, seemed to like. He only asked that I move the oculus to the right side so as not to interfere with the trade dress.

Initially, I used a photo I had taken of the Pantheon as a perspective guide for the dome, but, at my dad's suggestion, I went ahead and used the ceiling pattern as well.

This being my first cover for Marvel, I did a final preliminary rendering (shown above) to ensure that we were all on the same page. I secured their approval and transferred the drawing to the illustration board.

This was the basic underpainting, in which everything was blocked in. Although I had originally planned to use blue exhaust jets framed by a warm background, I switched the colors, again at my dad's suggestion.

I have a feeling that this image may have been "helped" in Photoshop. Early on in my career, when faced with a painting problem (especially with regard to color), I would photograph the painting and try to solve it digitally. Now I just try to solve it all in Photoshop before I even touch real paint.

By this point, I had a pretty good idea of what the finished product would look like—all that was required was rendering time.

This is the last image I took before the entire painting was completed. It was around this time that I decided to add the electrical outlet in the empty bay. I'm glad Marvel didn't say anything.

Back in the day, I had to scan my work in several pieces (10 in this case) and stitch it all together in Photoshop. This is what it looked like as soon as I had assembled all the images in roughly the right place. I'm glad I don't have to do this anymore.

Thankfully, it all came together nicely, and I've been working for Marvel ever since! The painting still resides in Florida with my 'rents.


  1. Francis BoncalesFriday, May 07, 2010

    I love this! I remember you showing us this during wintersession at risd. Talking about how you took that picture of the Pantheon during EHP. I really wanna go!

  2. I've always thought this painting was awesome, and as always it's a delight to see the process from start to finish (just saw Iron Man 2 myself last night, and it rocked!)

    I also am following your suggestion and heading to Heroes Con in Charlotte to get my portfolio seen, and maybe make a few contacts. Here's hoping!

  3. Yes, Francis, that was on my last day in Rome. Good thing I made one last trip to the Pantheon. I can't recommend EHP enough!

    Evan, I'm happy to hear you'll be making the trek! It's definitely one of the best places you can go just to meet and greet artists in the industry. I probably won't make it this year, but I will definitely return at some point.

  4. You know, I've admired this painting dozens of times, but I didn't realize until now that it was the first place I saw Iron Man using his hand repulsors as flight stabilizers. I'd started thinking that was something the movie had come up with, but this obviously predates that by years.

    I know it's been a while, but had you seen the repulsors used that way elsewhere, or was that something you invented?

    Disclaimer: I realize just how nerdy this question is.

  5. Dav, I honestly can't say whether or not I had seen it done before. I just know that it made sense to me when I was painting it. But don't worry, I'm as big a nerd as anybody.

  6. I like very much the evolution of the iron man drawing.
    From the sketch to the final art.
    very nice work

  7. Thank you, Paulo — I'm happy to share!


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