The truth is, Iron Man is one of my favorite Marvel super heroes (Spidey’s the other one). Ever since the first Iron Man movie came out back in 2008, the “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” has become a cultural icon. I figured as 2016 came to an end, what better way to pay homage than to paint a badass artwork? 😉
Iron Man Fun Fact: Tony Stark’s net worth is around $12.4 billion according to Forbes, beating out Bruce Wayne/Batman by $3.2 billion.
In this post I’ll go over the steps of how I painted Iron Man.
First thing’s first. I start by laying out the foundation for the whole painting. I do this by painting an outline using large brush strokes. I form the main shapes and define the background.
This step is quick and gives me a sense of where things are in the space and how big or small certain parts should be. I’m asking myself things like, “how big should the gap be from the top of his head to the edge of the canvas?” and “how about from his shoulder to the left edge?” Call it the “feeler” stage. I’m just trying to feel it out. You feel me?
Next, I switched to a smaller brush and painted in his neck, chest, arc reactor, arms, etc. These strokes are place holders for where the details will be later.
Here it’s more of the same thing. I painted in the secondary shapes and refined the first ones a bit. I added the yellow and mapped out where his eyes should be.
These first three steps are really just to map things out; starting as broad as possible and then going smaller.
The details will come later.
I tend to start with the eyes of my drawings/paintings. Once the eyes are done correctly and capture what I want to express, everything else can continue. I sketch the head and did a quick scribble to let me know how I should shade it.
If you look at the cheek area for example, it’s darker towards the cheek bones and gets lighter as you move towards the jaw.
At this phase it’ll look very flat and cartoon-like. I do that so that once the outline and main colors are filled, on the next steps, all I have to do is focus on shading and refinement.
This phase took a really long time because I was still trying to figure out how to shade properly on the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. There was a lot of trial and error, but I eventually figured it out. My tip here is to break everything down into small individual shapes. Focus on making those shapes look great because the bigger picture is a result of a lot of small shapes done well. It helps to practice drawing a lot of spheres, cubes, cylinders, and paying close attention to how light and shadow work together.
Okay so the head is good to go for now, next was the rest of the body. The proportions were off on the initial outlining phase so I readjusted it. After that, I painted the same areas until they were solid. I also made the background solid to make sure there were no gaps in the body area.
The same principles applied here. I took everything, broke it down to smaller shapes, focused on those small shapes, and allowed them to work together to create the rest of the picture later. This took a few weeks to complete actually. I was working on it on and off and had to go back and fix certain parts of the suit to give it a more realistic look. The blade on piece on his trap, his biceps, and rip cage were my focus points. The scratches also helps bring out the realism.
I was happy with how the suit turned out. Next was the background. I wasn’t sure what type of background I wanted to paint in, but I did want something to compliment the suit’s black, red, and yellow. I decided to create a background of fire and smoke (like he just walked out of an explosion). I think it works well since there are scratches and cracks on the suit too.
For the finishing touch, I sent the painting to Photoshop and added some texture, special filters and adjusted the colors/tones/saturation for a more realistic look.
All in all, this painting took me about 3 months (on and off + lots of procrastination) to complete. For the actual drawing time, however, I would say roughly 23 hours total.
Anyway, I hope this sheds some light on how I painted Iron Man. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out and will be offering it available for purchase. Check it out below: