Commission: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

June 5, 2018

A rewind of process screenshots are below, and beyond that are some notes on how this came together.

Before this request I had only ever drawn TMNT fan-art once four years ago, and it was only a quick sketch of Donatello:

So I wanted to challenge myself a bit and draw all four turtles this time. And I wanted to draw something more dynamic instead of plain poses with characters standing still—a rut I fall into way too often.

I dug around for some reference material and found this rad TMNT Amazing Adventures cover by the incredible Jon Sommariva. I mean look at this thing. It's just awesome. Check out the rest of Jon's art too. His characters are so dynamic and fluid, I fucking love them. If I wanted a challenge, drawing a version of this cover was really going to push me.

As with a lot of drawings, while making this there were at least a half dozen times when I was positive that I hated it. But I wanted to push through that and, hopefully, land on an end result that I actally liked. I was moderately happy with the inked art, but it was too plain and really needed color. Once I colored it (always a weak point for me) I put the drawing away for the night and convinced myself that I didn't like it at all. I really just hated the coloring job.

But the following day, looking at it fresh, I thought I could do better by adding some finishing touches. So I brought in some texture, a more dynamic background with the rain and buildings, added shadows and highlights, and faded the colors and inks a bit just to help balance things out. Going that extra mile took a drawing that I wasn't totally happy with and turned it into something I really like.

I'm pretty happy with the end result, and the person that requested the commission is thrilled. Which, really, is all you ever want when making commissioned art.

Note to my future self: remember to push through and go that extra 5-10%. It's so worth it.

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