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I’m a big Wolverine fan. I got into Wolverine after reading XMEN 1 that Jim Lee drew back in the 90s. I don’t remember reading Marvel books before that. I mostly read TMNT and I’d read Batman when I could afford it. The way Jim Lee drew Wolverine and how Chris Claremont wrote him I totally believed him. Hairy and unapologetic. Wasn’t long till I started saving up to read Wolverine regularly.
Lately I’ve been buying old books that I could never afford when I was a kid. I finally got my own Wolverine 1! I proudly display it in my home office. Now I’ve been obsessing over Wolverines first appearance in Incredible Hulk 181. I’ve been stalking it on ebay for months trying to win it. But a few weeks ago I came to terms that I’m never gonna own it. It just too expensive! So I looked for it in graphic novel form. Like in a book with a collection of Wolverine stories or Hulk stories. But I could not find one locally. I went to my local comic book store, Titan Comics, and I found out that Marvel reprinted the book! I already had my wallet out when he told me he didn’t have a copy and had been having a hard time finding more. Arrghh!!!
This was getting ridiculous. Now I really wanted the actual book again! I don’t know why I want it so bad. “The story is probably not that great anyway.”, I tell myself. I just love that cover. That red sky and the bright Wolverine in his Canadian uniform looks so slick as he is fearlessly launching himself at the Hulk.
It’s a this moment that I decide to just make my own poster of this iconic cover! This would give me a chance to draw again! I have not drawn a superhero illustration some 15 years! I used to do that all day when I was a kid.
Late one night I started out with some sketches of poses and some expressions to help me warm up. Not much but made me feel comfortable about where I wanted to go. I don’t want to copy exactly what artist Herb Trimpe did on the cover but just enough so you can tell it’s the 181 cover.
Then I moved onto penciling it in with a blue copy safe pencil. Really rough layout of Wolverine and Hulk.
Once I got a rough layout that I like I can start penciling in things. This is my favorite step.
Now that I got all the details in I move on to inking which is where I am the weakest. Looks okay but it’s really messy looking and I’m not sure how to shade things in right.
I draw my take on the mountain background of the cover. I leave out Wendigo. I’m not gonna miss him.
Now comes another fun part. Coloring! I start by getting the primary background which in the original cover is a red sky. Kinda weird. So I go with a dust, sunset look. Now I know what kinda mood I can paint the rest of the cover.
So after coloring the background I lay it out in Photoshop and add some color correction to give it some atmosphere. They’ve been fighting all night and into the early morning so the sun is rising. I add some warmth to the image so it feels like morning dusk. I even add a touch of light on top of them both. It’s looking good! Now let’s lay out the title and graphics.
Pretty close! I’m sure they drew all the fonts by hand so it’ll be tough matching it exactly but this is really close. Click on the image above to see the entire layout.
I was really happy that I forced myself to do this! I learned alot about what my weakness are and what I need to work on. First, my anatomy is so bad. Wolverine is pretty flat and stiff. I could have worked on his arms to bend them some more and rotated the direction his body was facing to make him pop out more.
The Hulk looks great! But somewhere between pencils and inks I moved his arm abit and now it looks really odd. His arm is too short but since Wolverine is in front it’s not too noticeable. His torso is also out of proportion.
Also I could notice my old style of drawing versus my new style. I grew up drawing from Jim Lee so it’s abit angular and messy too. Now my style is more smooth and detailed like you see in the Hulk. I guess I reverted to my old way of drawing Wolverine since I used to draw him before when I was young.
Over all I am happy with how the cover came out and the print looks great sitting in my office. Lemme know what you think!
I’ve been a designer for 15 years. I love creating & sharing. So, I’m hoping this site is a place to help me do both. I do freelance work as well. If you’re interested in what I can do, please take a look at my portfolio.
I started out years ago in print and have now designed in several mediums; including interactive experiences, as well as video and motion graphics.