I'm sorry I have been away so long. I have been working on all sorts of things, but don't have much I can share just yet. I do have this Vixen cover I put together a few weeks ago.

This one was tough, so much so that I completely scrapped a completed version of the pencils and started over, something I have only done once or twice before. My first pass at it was just too realistic, as I leaned on reference too much. I had completely rendered it in pencil, but after a lot of wasted time trying to "fix" it, I decided to give up and start over. It just isn't possible to make something bigger once it has been put down small.

The second time around, I drew more from my head, and was much happier with the figure in the end. The lion could have been pushed more, but I was running out of time (a shame, since I really love lions. I'll have to find an excuse to draw some more...), so I went with something fairly plain jane.

My first abandoned pass wasn't a total loss, however, since I scanned it to use the shaded tones as a basic shade layer for the new one, albeit with massive cranking of the levels to lose the pencil texture.

I should also mention that I swiped myself for the pose: I drew a Princess Leia for the inimitable John H. a while back and decided to build on that. Just picture Jabba instead of the lion.

Well, there you have it. I will have some more stuff soon, and some news about upcoming projects.

Thanks for looking,



John Ward said...

Hey Joshua,

Thanks for posting this and for updating your blog. I'm curious as of to why you felt the first pass was 'too realistic'? By that I mean, why do you feel a stylized approach is more appropriate than rendering the characters/scene as realistically as possible?

I realize that this is mostly a matter of choice and personal taste, but I was wondering if there are any other factors informing your decision? Have you found that people respond more favorably to stylized pieces? Are they more marketable? Anything like that going into your decision? Or is it something as simple as- 'Nah, I just like it better this way'?


John Ward

mordicai said...

Wait, your Vixen is WAY too dark, man. She looks like she might not be a type of white person with dark hair.

This is my morning attempt at sarcasm.

I like it a lot! Speaking of liking a lot, it just clicked with me that you did First Thunder, which I really liked.

Scott Forbes said...

This is terrific!

I love the texture you created with the brushes in Painter/Photoshop - the lion seems to be more softly rendered than Vixen, but it helps pop her out more.

The grass is rendered very well, the complicated appearance, merely filled with a subtle gradient.

Terrific work as always J, hopefully I'll hear back from you soon :-)

All the best,


Mirella said...

this draw is beautiful!! I love it^^

Rich said...

I like this a lot! Any chance that you could let us see the Leia/Jabba pic you mentioned?

Jeffrywith1e said...

This means there's a Vixen book coming? That'd be awesome!

Fabián Fucci said...

Awesome illustration! I like it a lot!

Dominic Bugatto said...

Worth the wait . Nice one.

Fogger said...

Man, John H.'s art is EVERYWHERE!

Tim Dempsey said...

I love your work, but this sample seems flawed in that the Vixen and the lino don't seem to be illuminated by the same light source...

regardless, bravo

Brian said...

I love the look on Vixen's face. As for the lion, I think you do great animals and would love to see you do some anthropomorphic work.

Eric Orchard said...

Great piece, lovely balance of realism and a more expressive feel. The lion has a great look, imposing.

Walter said...

Ok, this is completely unrelated to this blog entry, but i had to say something while it was fresh on my mind.

I spent a majority of the last 12 hours organizing, bagging and boarding comics(two-to-a-bag for series). I decided to call it quits for the evening after stashing away all the marvel titles that i could find mates for, but i was still left with a decent-sized stack of issues missing their bagmates. I went searching through my shelves to see if i could find any of the lost ones and only found a couple. However, something i did find was Sky Between Branches #0 (variant cover with 6/999 certificate).
It's been a while since the last time i looked through it, but i cannot get over how gorgeous it is. Now maybe it's because i have been reading rather emotional issues of comics throughout the night, but damn, i seriously almost cried just from the sheer beauty of it. I guess i had forgotten just how amazing the art is. Even the sketches are filled with tons of character. I just wanted to completely immerse myself in the world you created. The first thing i did after sitting in reverence of your art for a few mintues was search for more issues, expecting an entire series that i had completely missed out on.
Now i wish i had, because waiting might kill me.
Sorry for the drawn out comment that was really just one big, thinly-veiled compliment. You are an obscenely talented fellow, and i hope you eventually are rewarded some free time to continue Sky Between Branches.

-Walter Pfeifer-Thompson

Tirso Cons said...

Hi mr. Middleton,

Great new discover (so late for my disaster...) your blog!
It's really impressive your stuff!! I really enjoy reviewing all it!
Love your work! That's really great!

I will take an eye over your new project with Barbara for Soleil, I discover it in her blog and it looks very promissing! :-D

Best regards,


James Figueiredo said...

Man, that looks absolutely beautiful!
And I love that the lion looks peaceful, but VIxen looks fierce, despite the relaxed posture. Great work on her eyes!


Anonymous said...

Hello. This post is likeable, and your blog is very interesting, congratulations :-). I will add in my blogroll =). If possible gives a last there on my blog, it is about the Monitor de LCD, I hope you enjoy. The address is http://monitor-de-lcd.blogspot.com. A hug.

PhilTanArt said...

Good seein' you here Josh! : ) Glad to have found your blog, looking forward to see more of the cool stuff from you sir!

Philip Tan

dramenon said...

You really stretch your creative talents with the non-super hero work. It's *all* very good but there is something vibrant/rich with the Ruby Key and other work along those genres.

Joern said...

You're really a dab hand at drawing! Interresting mixture between realistic and graphic style in this one. (... and she's sexy too)

Urban Barbarian said...

Grrrrrr! That's my inner lion roaring! Love it!

pBn said...

Dude...the foreground absoulutely slays me. Beauty work eh!

-J.Meyer said...

Beautiful, love it. Vixen looks great and I love the field of flowers.

samax said...

i saw this in the comic shop...
if the interior art was this good, i'd have bought it!

great work!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Post a Comment