Tuesday, April 22, 2014

More Sporty: The Secret Origins of Digger Munro

Here is the development of a thumbnail sketch into what is essentially a model sheet for a new Megaton Man character, Connie Carlyle, who goes by the name "Digger Munro" when she plays sandball (beach volleyball), and "Sporty" when she attends Megatropolis Tech, a third-rate trade school for megahero wannabes. Unbeknownst to him, she's been subletting Trent Phloog's New York City apartment, and he finds her there and meets her for the first time only when he returns, exiled from the Megatropolis Quartet.

Left to right: The original thumbnail sketch, blown up; the Col-erase light blue and graphite pencil tracing on Clearprint 1000HP Design Vellum; the inked final, also on Clearprint.
The conception for Sporty began on a sketchbook sheet circa 2010. I've made a conscious effort to conserve little scribbles like this and see how far I can develop them into finished pieces. In this case, scanning and printing out at Fedex enables me to blow up a lot of sketches and turn them into something more permanent while still capturing the original energy of a quick, dashed-off thought. If the tracing doesn't work, I can always try it again, without having harmed the original. This is a bit of a cumbersome process, but it has its advantages over the old analog method of penciling and inking on the same sheet, which destroys the original. I can work looser and freer, and I don't have to erase (or re-ink when the erasing fades the ink)!

The original sketchbook page, circa 2010. You can see the 2014 development of the thumbnails to the right, featuring Megaton Man and Yarn Man, posted elsewhere on this blog.
Sporty is a dumb name for a character, I will readily admit, and will immediately recall Sporty Spice, who people will assume I'm ripping off, but Colleen does not have very much imagination in that regard. I've always thought of sporty as a somewhat ridiculous adjective, like jaunty. Maybe I'll give her a sandball teammate named Jaunty!

The scene with Yarn Man packing up at the Megatropolis Headquarters, also thumbnailed on this page, is related to Megaton Man eventually going back to his old apartment to find Sporty ensconced there, although the two scenes do not immediately happen one after the other.

This is the following page in the sketchbook, helpfully dated August 16, 2010, showing some of the development of the character. Here she seems older and more athletic. The wrist adornments are obviously inspired by Kerri Walsh, who wore all kinds of bracelets and bangles in several Olympics. The reason they are all watches is because Sporty's aunt is a TV home shopaholic!
On the second page following, Sporty has moved some of the bangles to a leg (perhaps to cover one of those athletic bandages), and has definitely taken on the appearance of a young woman I happen to know. Most of my characters are composites of different people I've known, either in terms of personality or physical appearance or both. (The Sporty sketch is shown developed elsewhere in a recent post).

Here is the second page following in the sketchbook. Why I was trying to draw Megaton Man with realistic proportions I can no longer remember (I did it in Megaton Man #10 and in Return of Megaton Man #1, of course). I think I was trying to harmonize the character with the "more realistic" sandball storyline I was dreaming up (and perhaps with a potential adaptation into a dance piece by Tome' Cousin in mind).

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