Daredevil Fan Art & Process

After watching the Daredevil series on Netflix, I knew I had to create a fan art piece for it, it's such an amazing show and knows exactly how to keep the viewer hooked, plus it's got some truly great actors playing some awesome characters.

This was a pretty tough one to get finished, I just seemed to get stuck half way through and lost all motivation for it (I've posted a series of images below to show the process and the stage where I lost motivation!) but I knew I had to just push through and get it finished regardless, and I'm so happy I did. I feel like I learnt a lot from this piece, and the more pieces I do purely for fun, the more I learn, the more my style develops and the happier I feel about my work.

Here's a little breakdown of the process, a gif and the final piece at the end.

So first up was obviously the sketch. I did do a couple of sketches of Daredevil and Kingpin in my sketchbook first too just to establish the overall style I wanted to go with. I also spent quite a while sketching some small thumbnail compositions. Composition is a really important element to me and I like to try something new and ambitious on every new piece. As you can see the sketch is pretty simple and a lot of the final elements are missing, as long as I have the basics I'm happy to just get going and add my other ideas that I don't think need to be included in the sketch.

For the linework, I played around in Photoshop first for the straight lines, as I'd never done bricks before it took quite a lot of experimenting. I then put the image into Manga Studio to line work everything else. I wasn't worried about lines crossing through each other as I use separate layers and groups for each element so they won't be seen after colour is added.

Flat colours.

Next stage of flat colours + gradients on Daredevil + textures on the floor, poster and Daredevils suit. The textures are just from a library I've built over the years of random stuff, so the poster is paper, the floor is metal and Daredevil just has a halftone overlay on his suit.

Next are the shadows, I pretty much always do my layers in the order I'm sharing with you. I usually use a darkish blue or purple for the shadows and set the layer to multiply between 50%-80% transparency, however sometimes I do play around and end up using other layer types like colour burn or linear burn, it's fun playing around to see what happens.

I love adding the lighting because you can really see how much of a difference it makes. I've been working a lot on improving my work lately and wanted to improve my lighting. I usually just add lighting to a character from a light source, so I was doing that right, but I never actually added the light source.... So for this piece I decided to do just that and really make the lighting a big part of the whole piece. There's an orange light coming from the street light which you can see quite clearly, and then a pink/red light coming from above Daredevil, a light coming from a window in the alley or an emergency light. In the Daredevil promotional images, they were quite dark with red lighting so I wanted this to come across in my work.

I didn't feel like the characters were standing out enough, I had a couple of days away from it and this is where I started to lose motivation. I felt like there wasn't enough in the piece to make it exciting, the back of the shot was bare, the walls were bare and the only thing really standing out was Daredevil himself, and even that was still a bit boring. So I had another few days away from it, having a break from a piece and coming back with fresh eyes really helps. After that I just decided that no matter what, it was important that I finished it, so I added some white highlights and some light colours to the lines from the light source and kept at it.

I really like framing my images with silhouettes, so I developed those and worked them into the piece which I think really helped to make the image more exciting and add the detail that was missing. Obviously I was still worried about the walls, but I remembered that one of my initial ideas was to have some Punisher graffiti with him coming into season 2, so I added that and it really brought the whole thing together.

I knew I wanted to try rain with this one, so I added that in the end and also added some blood and flying teeth to Kingpin, showing the true effect of Daredevil's punch! The rain is made up of a couple of layers with different transparencies and layer types.

Lastly, and my favourite part is playing with the colour sliders, I don't always get the colours right at the start but I carry on regardless as I know I can finish with this. I upped the blues and reds and I think it gives it a much darker, more Hell's Kitchen feel!

GIF below to show the process, thanks so much for reading!