Thursday, October 2, 2014

Olympians Boxed Set-- Countdown! Megapost Number 2- ATHENA: GREY-EYED GODDESS

On October 7th, the new boxed set of the first 6 Olympians books is officially released.
That's six volumes, and a poster, so for each day leading up to the 7th I'll release a post detailing sketches, anecdotes, alternate drawings-- whatever I can find, really, for one of the books in the series. Today, I'll cover the second book in the series,  Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess

I always knew that I wanted to follow up Zeus: King of the Gods immediately with a book on Athena, for many reasons. One, it was good to follow up the adventures of the manly king of the gods with some stories of a totally butt-kicking goddess. Two, I wanted to get a story in there about a second generation Olympian right off the bat, and Athena kicked the most butt. And thirdly, lest you think that all my reasoning will boil down to Athena kicking butt, I got to resolve the story of Metis, Athena's mother, which was a major subplot of Zeus: King of the Gods.

We should call this book Athena the Cross-eyed Goddess. AmIright?
 Work on Athena began immediately after I finished Zeus, really, concurrently, as I was writing it while still coloring Zeus. We wanted to show potential readers we had a string commitment to this series by releasing the first two volumes right after another. Athena benefitted from this in that a lot of the trying to figure out what the series was going to look like was hashed out on Zeus. That's not to say we still didn't have a lot to work out, as evidenced by the first cover sketch above.

No matter where you stand in the room, her grey eyes follow you.

That was a not-very-good drawing, so I reworked it to the above. I still think this is a very striking piece, and I'm sorry sometimes we never went this route

 By this point though we had worked out the design for the cover of Zeus, so we felt it important that future volumes in the series match that look to carry a uniform feel. The cover was the first piece of finished artwork I did for athena, as it had to be printed on the back of Zeus (along with the covers of Hera and Hades, tales for another day).

Here it is in pencils.
and inks.

and in almost sorta final colors. Remember yesterday how I mentioned I was still figuring out my color sense? When Mark Siegel saw this background color choice, he laughed, and upon seeing my face was like ,"Oh, you're serious about that?"

By the time I got to Poseidon I was basically drawing my dummies with burst sticks on toilet paper. I'm hardly exaggerating.
I think we've just about covered covers (ha!). Remember yesterday when I showed you the very detailed and sumptuous ink roughs for the dummy of Zeus? Oh what a difference one book makes. Above is an example of the dummy for Athena, detailing my favorite part of the book, her battle against Pallas, the leader of the Gigantes.

Since we had worked out so much of the details for the series by this point, I don't have as much false-start stuff to show you, so I figured I'd share some sketch work as I developed my take on the characters. Above are two shots of Athena wearing a very short skirt. Initially, I basically had her dressed like a male soldier, not realizing how important the weaving side, and her accompanying long robes, are to her character. Athena would never flash that much skin

Too bad she's not looking up.
 I mean, look how scandalized she looks here! The very idea!

Athena needs to learn how to iron.

I maybe overcompensated with the robes by the time I got to this drawing.

I'm leaning towards goofy.

Some early design ideas for Medusa. I can't decide if the face on the left is totally goofy or else the most terrifying thing I've ever drawn.

That image of Athena is probably the last thing Pallas ever saw.

Pallas, the leader of the Gigantes, arrived pretty much full-formed. Going through my sketchbooks he was always a big scaly goat-gorilla monster.

The original is in the Louvre.
This is a 'jam' piece I did with cartoonists Pascal Dizin, Mike Cavallaro and Leland Purvis. We had a signing together at the wonderful Bergen Street Comics and this is the art we created together for the postcard to promote it. If you have one of those postcards, it's worth approximately 4 billion dollars now.

That's all folks! Check back tomorrow for Hera: The Goddess and Her Glory.

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