Day 98 of the #365drawingchallenge begins Hellboy Week with the mad Russian monk who brought Hellboy to Earth, Grigori Rasputin. Hellboy is my favorite comic book series. It’s the only series that I really collect and read thoroughly. It’s one of the comics that made me want to start drawing my own comics. I had an appreciation for the art and character on kind of a peripheral skimming level for years, then I became hooked when the first movie came out and I really started reading the comics. And I’m very excited for the reboot movie that is about to come out because it looks like it will much more closely reflect the tone of the comics.
Unfortunately it seems my audience isn’t a bunch of Hellboy fans like me, at least from my initial announcement that I was doing Hellboy Week that was met with little reaction. Oh well. It’s my favorite and I’m primarily going to draw things that I like and I’m interested in.
Hellboy is a tricky thing to draw because the Mike Mignola’s art is so distinctive that you don’t really want to just copy it. So even more so than a lot of comics it is about drawing the characters in your style. I wanted to start with Rasputin for a couple reasons. One, he plays a pretty important role in the comics, especially in the beginning. Two, he has a cool look in the comics that I knew would be fun to draw. It is very different from when I was drawing his ghost as a semi-regular recurring character in I’m famous. Three, the real Rasputin was just so interesting that even a fictionalized version of the man carries some of that gravitas.
It was a little bit of a challenge to draw, as I said the actual Hellboy comics when drawn by Mignola are so distinct. And part of that is a lack of detail, more focusing on the abstract shapes and shadows. So it can be a little tough to pull from as a source. But honestly that made it more fun to come up with my own version of the character and really helped me make a lot of choices to draw it in my own vision. And I’m pretty happy with the results.