The primary character in Henchmen, the comic book series I am working on, is Drake Drexler. A lot of comic book characters have alliterative names, so I thought mine would to. In the first draft of the story his name was Cage Drexler, but it didn’t sound right. A friend suggested Drake instead and it stuck.
The gist of the character is that he is a young runaway, no more than twenty one. At one time he was the high school football star of his home town. Popular and confident until something terrible happened that scarred him for life, physically and mentally. When we meet him in the story he has been on the run for a few years. I guess I could have kept the back story the same and made him older. I decided to keep him quite young because it is important to the story that he is naive.
Visually I always saw him wearing a lettermen’s jacket. It is a bit of a stretch that he wouldn’t ditch this telling article of clothing if he was on the run. I decided to keep it because it is a good visual shorthand for who he is. All identifying patches have been removed so I guess it makes sense.
Here is one my early attempts at drawing Drake. I want him to be a bit of a blockhead. While the shape of the head is important, in this case I feel that the nose is even more so. I don’t think I’m quite getting it here. When I look at this drawing I don’t see the character I’m looking for. It is a tricky thing to find and I thought it would be easier.
I was getting impatient with this process. I wanted to start drawing my comic. I figured I knew what his body type was. I was just hung up and the face. I thought I would start doing page lay outs and I could put the right face in when I got to the inking stage. And then when I drew the first page in which Drake appears I saw, much to my surprise, the character I had been looking for!
Here are the pencils from that panel.
The nose still wasn’t right though. I borrowed some moves from Olivier Coipel gave it another try. This is just a quick study I did on a sticky note.
It is finally starting to work for me. A small change but it makes all the difference. The bridge of the nose needed to be bigger on top then at the bottom. Obviously I need to develop this a bit more to make sure it works from all angles and with all expressions, but I think I am on the right track.
More as it develops.