Disney Villains

Here is the final version of a drawing I did for a story about the best Disney villains, as chosen by a small constellation of the Bay Area News Group's writers. Sue Gilmore, Chuck Barney, Lisa Wrenn, Ann Tatko-Peterson and Tony Hicks each share a brief literary sketch about their favorite devious Disney character. You can read the story here.

Open in a new window for a massive image.

This was a nice and relaxing assignment. Between you & me, when you draw popular and iconic cartoon characters all you have to do is render them fairly closely to how they're supposed to look and everyone thinks it's great. Given the opportunity, I would work on my Cruella de Vil interpretation a little bit more, but otherwise I think it came out okay. Maybe I'd fix the crown on the Queen, too.

There wasn't a big concept for this illustration. I simply took the list of characters and had them interact somehow while leaving space for a headline and the start of the story. Perhaps I should have used the Wicked Queen as the uppermost villain, simply because she is more iconic than Lady Tremaine.

Below is the rough sketch I submitted for approval. There was plenty of reference to be found for most of these characters but, disappointingly, Miss de Vil images are scarce. I found countless pics of Glenn Close from the live-action movie but very few of the cartoon.

Open in a new window for a very large version of this very sloppy drawing.

I haven't seen any of these movies in more than a decade, maybe two decades. And I've never seen "Jungle Book." I think Beauty and the Beast is the most recent one I've watched, and that might have been back when it first came out for the VCR. Funny how time flies.

I think my favorite Disney villain would be Monstro the whale from Pinocchio, if we can count him as a villain. I haven't seen that movie in a loooong time either, but I remember being really impressed with his chase scene in pursuit of Pinocchio. The animation of the water was spectacular.

Here's how it looked printed in the newspaper, but not as bright because newsprint destroys bright. But it did look pretty good anyway!

Don't bother clicking. It doesn't get any bigger than this.

I did most of the drawing and coloring in MangaStudio 5 EX, with touch-ups, adjustments and the background colors painted in Photoshop.


Directly below is the online version of one of my illustrations for the newspaper. It's about coping with the ramifications of injury for the sports activity enthusiast, and how it can affect more than just one's love of participating in the sport. It's written by long-time colleague, Randy Myers and you can read his always stellar work here.

Open in a new window for a very very very large image.

almost like this piece. I enjoyed working on it and I'm happy with it save for one glaring gaffe. I had a momentary lapse and forgot that I hatehatehate drop shadows. Hate! Gah, I wish I had forgone those horrible gray blurs beneath the callout boxes (or whatever you call them.) I'm so mad at myself for doing it. It flattens the painting below, destroying the illusion of depth. It approaches the catastrophic and turns the image into a personal disappointment. But I'm letting go of the rage right now and carrying on as though I didn't do such a ghastly, stupid thing.

The rough, submitted for approval. Like the final, the medium is MangaStudio&Photoshop!
Random notes

As you can see from the rough, I pretty much nailed down the layout from the get-go. I didn't care for the focus on the tear drop and was relieved when the editors agreed.
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I had several day before the final was due, so – in between time with other chores – I experimented with more painterly techniques. I settled on using a combination of the "India Ink" and "Oil Paint" tools in MangaStudio for the main figure with adjustments, touch-ups and background colors in Photoshop.
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The character isn't referenced from anyone in particular; I just made her up as I went along.
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For my illustrations, I work on the version for the newspaper first. Most of my compositions are vertically designed, or "L" shaped to accommodate headline and text. After the paper version is put to bed I move things around and try to re-shape the images into a more horizontal presentation for the web.

Illustrations are not treated with as much gravitas as they are in the paper –– most often simply put in a small clickable box –– so I generally don't do much more to them beyond trying to make them look decent in their new shape. This time it occurred to me to put a tile floor beneath the woman's hospital bed or gurney. Casting a shadow on the floor made it better horizontal composition and the tile floor and, I think, improved the image.

It was too late to amend the illustration for the newspaper, tho.
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A simpler drawing approach would have been just as effective, but I like to take the opportunity to bask in the richer painting experience when I can.

Here's how it appeared in the paper:

The End.