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by Nick Cardy and Eric Nolen-Weathington

All Characters TM & © DC Comics.

Behind the Art


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Behind the Art

TwoMorrows Publishing • Raleigh, North Carolina


“Hedy Lamarr,” 2005, pencil, ©2008 Nick Cardy

“Hedy Lamarr” (above) Many years ago, a shy, attractive, young lady named Donna asked me to do a drawing of Hedy Lamarr and gave me photo references of the movie star. My memory is vague, but she spoke of her husband’s business. I interrupted, “You mean he exposes himself?” “No, no,” she corrected, “he exposes the artists.” Again I questioned her, “But what do you mean he lays them out?” “No, no,” she explained, “he lays out their art for books.” “Oh, I see. He makes them famous.” The way she raved about him, he must have been about seven feet tall. Finally, I asked if he could expose me. I don’t remember the husband’s name... he worked on a derrick or something. Well, I’ll think of it tomorrow. By the way, that reminds me — uh oh, my two nurses found me. (right) An advertisement for one of the operas produced that season by the Sarasota Opera Company. 14

“Hubert Perry, Basso,” 1988, pencil, ©1988 Sarasota Opera Company


“The Wedding ... ??!!,” 1988, ink, ©2008 Nick Cardy

Love and War (above) This watercolor was done for my portfolio. I tried to make a twentieth century rendition of the shotgun wedding. (right) My public library asked me if I could do something for a Valentine’s Day promo. The lovers were on an old DC romance comic book cover. On a print I added the heart, similar to a sunset.

“Lovers,” 1988, ink, ©2008 Nick Cardy 15


“As a boy, he turned his violent, foot-stamping temper tantrums into a profession.�

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“San Francisco,” 1960, pen and ink with sepia wash, © respective owner

“San Francisco” A black-and-white illustration for a travel agency of a trolley turnaround in San Francisco. This was drawn with pen and ink, then I went over it with a sepia wash. The scene was taken from photo reference the agency sent me. 20


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©2008 Nick Cardy

watercolor, © Hearst Communications, Inc.

Cosmopolitan

©2008 Nick Cardy

This was one of my first magazine illustration assignments after leaving DC. It’s a montage of several actors, all of whom were featured in this issue of Cosmopolitan. After I pencil something like this, I usually spray the pencils with a fixative so that the black of the pencil marks don’t get mixed into the paint, making it muddy. But when I sprayed this one, I used the wrong can — not the fixative. When I put the watercolor over it, it made a lot of these speckles and dots. Rather than take the time to repencil it, I went ahead with the painting, and ended up with a speckled look all over. It didn’t look too bad that way, but then the art director said to me, “You have the water around June Allyson going right up to the border. Could you vignette that so that it corresponds to the vignette on the right side?” To simulate the dots, I took a toothbrush and put it in a little white paint, then I tickled the brush to get a little spray. 28


Sheena (right) Sheena was one of a series of “Cardy heroines” that I was going to illustrate, along with Black Canary and Wonder Girl, etc. Sheena actually had a pet leopard, but my friend who commissioned the work wanted a lion instead. (below) Pencil rough of a Tarzan illustration I drew to sell at a convention.

Sheena © respective owner. 33


© DC Comics

© DC Comics

Aquaman Prior to my drawing Aquaman, it was done as six-page stories by others. Then I was asked to do a Showcase issue featuring Aquaman. After that I wet my feet with Aquaman #1 as its own book. I started that in 1962 and drew the series until issue #39 in 1968. After that, I inked the covers for issues #40 through #56, which were penciled by other artists. Initially Carmine Infantino gave me cover layouts, but later on we would bounce ideas back and forth. We respected each other’s talents, and I received great freedom with my covers. (upper left) When you get to the middle of the “Aquaman” title, you get to Mera’s head. The head leads to the hair, which swirls around with Aquaman and Aqualad. It has a very feminine feel to it, which emphasizes Mera and the horror in her face. (upper right) I asked to put the title logo at the bottom, so I could incorporate it into the ledge of the volcano. In order for the title to be seen on the newsstand, they put “Aquaman” in smaller print in the upper lefthand corner. I like this cover for its simplicity. (right) This is one of my absolute favorite covers. I really like the design of this. From the tip of Mera’s feet on the left, to the end of Aquaman’s foot on the right, to the top of Aquaman’s head, makes a triangular design. In back of him, that triangular design is repeated in the stalagmites. There are also smaller triangles with the water splashing off Aquaman and the walrus. And as Mera’s arm comes down, she’s more or less pointing to Aqualad. I think Jerry Serpe did the colors on this cover; he did a very nice job with it. 38


illustration ©2008 Nick Cardy, Aquaman ™ and © DC Comics © DC Comics

(upper left) Because someone else was going to color this piece, I put in outlines of the waves. Nowadays, the colorists can put in the shadings and eliminate the black lines. I enjoyed doing the backlighting on the figures, and I like the heavy vines or tentacles coming up, because they add to the tunnel effect of the whirlpool and also provide contrast. (upper right) A pencil sketch I did for a convention. (left) When I was doing this piece I couldn’t find my projector, and I didn’t have time to go and get the sketch blown up. So I drew a grid over the sketch and a larger, proportionate one on the board I was using for the final drawing, and used that to keep my proportions. It’s an old trick, but it’s a pain in the butt to do. (right) I like the effect of the perspective here. I made the soles of the characters’ feet darker, and the pen-and-ink lines get lighter as they go up. The sense of perspective comes as much from the thickness or thinness of the lines as from the characters’ proportions. The clouds I stippled with the tip of a brush. The little swirl on the left added an ethereal, otherworldly feel.

illustration ©2008 Nick Cardy, Aquaman ™ and ©DC Comics 40


© DC Comics

© DC Comics

(upper left) I like this one. It has a simple triangular design with Wonder Girl at the top transformed into a witch. (upper right) I really like the big skull. It makes an impact. It looks like they’re going over a waterfall into this giant skull’s mouth. It’s too bad they cropped it so much with the title and the characters down the side. I would have liked the image to be bigger. My work at this time was a lot tighter as compared to my work on Bat Lash; there’s a lot of hay in this one. Bat Lash was done heavier, quicker, and a lot looser. (left) I was going to use this sketch of Wonder Girl as part of the same series of heroines the Sheena sketch was for. I may end up doing this as a painting someday.

illustration ©2008 Nick Cardy, Wonder Girl ™ and © DC Comics

(right) This is another one of my very favorite covers. The book stands as a monument. The characters form a circle around it, with the heroes looking for Wonder Girl running to the right, up through Wonder Girl getting pulled into the book, back to the left with all the characters coming out of the book, and back down to Aqualad. I usually sign my name “Nick Cardy,” but my middle name is Peter. Peter is also my son’s name, so I figured I’d put that in to give him a little kick.

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The New Wonder Girl (above) A convention sketch of Wonder Girl. (below) This is another of my favorites. Wonder Girl’s breast, where it extends into the white area, is the center point of the action. The lines in the pink area, the arms of all the characters, and Wonder Girl’s left leg all come out of that point in straight lines. It’s like an explosion. I mixed up the legs of the guys to keep it from being too geometrical. I think it’s effective.

illustration ©2008 Nick Cardy, Wonder Girl ™ and © DC Comics

(right) With this I wanted to keep the other Teen Titans in the background make them secondary to Wonder Girl. I tried hard to make the pig-tailed Wonder Girl pretty, and with her hair down the new Wonder Girl looks a little older. With the costume I designed, her belt doubled as a lasso, and the amulet she wore around her neck had a lot of gizmos in it, but that stuff didn’t get used very much. © DC Comics 46


illustration ©2008 Nick Cardy, Bat Lash ™ and © DC Comics

(above) This illustration didn’t come out of the book. I penciled this with the intention of making a painting. I like the vignette effect, with the gun in limbo. (left) In the old school, they used to say if you want something ethereal and holy, keep to vertical lines, like the columns of a temple or trees — something very strong in feeling. If you want someone sleeping, you work on a horizon line. If you want to show action, you put it at an angle, and that’s what I did with this cover.

© DC Comics 50


© DC Comics

illustration ©2008 Nick Cardy, Bat Lash ™ and © DC Comics

(upper left) This is one of my favorite drawings. I was going to make this a painting, along with the illustration on the previous page. The only thing I don’t like about this one is that I made him looking too angry. I don’t want him to look villainous. (upper right) Another Bat Lash cover. 51


illustration ©2008 Nick Cardy, Batman ™ and © DC Comics

Brave and the Bold (above) This Batman was done for a friend who like cobblestones and bricks, so I put Batman in the same alley that Lady Luck went through in 2002 on page 31. (right) This story was set in London, with a Jack the Ripper sort of atmosphere, so I used a lot more pen and heavier blacks. When you have a mystery, good blacks help. The main thing with this cover was to try to create a fog throughout the illustration. And as you open the page, the fog leads from one page to the other. I did a lot of crosshatching to make the fog work. I think it turned out pretty well. The only thing that louses it up is the sign. It would have been better had they made the words look like they were scribbled on the wall by hand. 56


illustration ©2008 Nick Cardy, Batman ™ and © DC Comics

Detective Comics (above) A pencil Batman convention sketch. (left) I called this one, “When the bats play in Las Vegas.” Too bad it was crowded by the side panel. I liked the Man-Bat figure, and wish I could have used the full page. (right) I enjoyed playing with the menace behind Batman. This background was done in black-and-white, but I asked them to do it in a deep color and they had it separated to come out as purple. © DC Comics 58


© DC Comics

illustration ©2008 Nick Cardy, Wonder Woman ™ and © DC Comics

Wonder Woman (upper left) Rough pencil sketch for the Nick Cardy heroine series of paintings. (upper right and next page) Poor Wonder Woman! The messes she gets into. This cover should have been a big hit. (right) Wonder Woman versus sister, Nubia, with Mars refereeing. A simple symmetrical design.

© DC Comics 64


illustration ©2008 Nick Cardy, Wonder Woman ™ and ©2008 DC Comics

The Flash (above) This illustration was done for the Michigan Clinic to hang in their rec room. The supervisor hinted to my son, Peter, that the young patients would enjoy it, and Peter asked me if I could do it. (right) In this design, Flash is framed very tightly by the falling buildings and the cracking road. There is literally danger all around him. I think I got the effect I wanted here. I only drew Flash covers, never interiors, but I always tried to look at cars and things moving at high speed. At first I wanted to draw him as separate figures, but that’s a lot of work, and there are different ways to handle it. I also wondered what type of material his shoes were made of, because he really puts on the brakes here. 66


© DC Comics

© DC Comics

Romance

© DC Comics

Of all the romance covers I drew, I particularly like the cover I did for Girls’ Love #139. The design is very simple. In the background are couples hugging each other, while the girl is all by herself isolated from the others, which makes her look even more lonely. They did a nice coloring job on this one. There’s a scene in the movie, The General, where Buster Keaton’s character tries to enlist in the Confederate Army, but is refused because he is the chief engineer of the train. Everyone starts leaving town, and the soldiers are riding around him on horseback, and soon he’s left all alone in the middle of the street. You can feel the loneliness. In High Noon, you have Gary Cooper’s character getting ready for a showdown, and no one in town is going to help him. He’s walks out into the middle of the street all alone — that’s what you call loneliness. I tried to capture that emotion here. I like the single figure in a sort of a no man’s land. 68


illustrations ©2008 Nick Cardy, all characters ™ and © DC Comics

The Greatest 1960s Stories Ever Told (left) I started off with a rough design. It just dawned on me, but here again is an explosion design. Maybe I’m getting too repetitive. (upper left) After I had the design for the cover, I put a sheet of tracing paper over the illustration, which was about 10" x 16" or so, and drew individual pencil sketches of the characters. (upper right and next page) Again using tracing paper, I did tight pencils of the characters. The red lines you see indicate how I want to place the figures on the big master page. 74


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illustrations ©2008 Nick Cardy, all characters ™ and © DC Comics


illustrations ©2008 Nick Cardy, all characters ™ and © DC Comics

(above and left) More tight pencils of the characters. (right) Using the composite master page, I traced the image onto a gesso board. Then I put down a tan background color, drew in the character outlines, and filled in the color. I made the background a monotone color of burnt sienna with some green and some little spots of blue. I think I used acrylic, but I may have used a heavy Designers gouache. The stippling was done by rolling up a piece of cloth into a ball, dipping it in the paint, and dabbing it over the painting. Sometimes, rather than coming directly down on it, I came down and quickly rubbed off the side to get the distance from where the rub was coming. The cover was done for a book called The Greatest 1960s Stories Ever Told, which was to be the second in a series of books from DC, but the book was cancelled. Apparently the first book didn’t do too well.

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illustrations ©2008 Nick Cardy, all characters ™ and © DC Comics

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illustrations ©2008 Nick Cardy, all characters ™ and © DC Comics

I like the Mera pencils on the left better than the way she came out in the painting. The pencils have a little more spark in them.

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illustrations ©2008 Nick Cardy, all characters ™ and © DC Comics


illustrations ©2008 Nick Cardy, all characters ™ and © DC Comics

(above) Tightened pencils of the heroes done on separate pieces of tracing paper for positioning in the composition. (left) A rough color layout. I decided I wanted the undertone to be a light yellow ochre. (right) The final full illustration, done in watercolor and burnt sienna colored pencil. If you look very closely, you’ll be able to see little crosshatchings done with the colored pencil. I’m always trying something different.

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illustrations © respective owners

Those Lips, Those Eyes (upper left) A watercolor painting for the cover of a Pocketbook novel. (upper right) A pencil layout on tracing paper, ready for the painting. (right) Final painting for Those Lips, Those Eyes, starring Frank Langella. For this illustration, I used one male model and one female model for all the bodies, on which I then put various models’ heads. I had the two models pose, with a photographer taking pictures for me. Once I was in the studio, I put all the figures on tracing paper. When they make movies, they have a guy that goes around with a still camera taking pictures of the actors and sets. Then the studio will send you a sheet that’s full of these shots. If you want a certain shot to use as reference, they’ll enlarge it and send it to you. That’s how I got the reference to put the head of Frank Langella onto my model’s body. The guy climbing up the ladder was Tom Hulce, who a few years later would play Mozart in Amadeus. The face of the girl on the bottom right was the actual face of my body model. I’m not sure why I changed Langella’s face to be looking at the camera rather than the girl. I must have thought it looked better, but with that girl in his arms, he should have been looking at the girl! 102


Š respective owner

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©2008 Nick Cardy ©2008 Nick Cardy ©2008 Nick Cardy

“Going Home” (upper left) The young girl I used as the model for this painting was the daughter of my lady friend’s niece. We were visiting them in upstate New York, and I found a place nearby that had a painted pony. We went there and I took pictures of her on this horse. While I was taking pictures, I backed up and got the shock of my life — I had bumped up against an electric fence! (upper right) I’ve always loved horses — their anatomy and their balance and the way they stand. I did studies of the pony, and once I got it right I put the little girl on it.

©2008 Nick Cardy

(left) I decided to make the girl in the painting look as though she had been captured by Indians and then freed by the scout. She has a little cochina doll, and I put moccasins and the Native American dress on her.

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“Going Home,” pastel color rough, 9" x 13", ©2008 N. Cardy

©2008 Nick Cardy

(upper left) I made several pastel color roughs, before settling on what I wanted. This is just one of many. (lower left) A pencil rough of the scout. (upper right) With the painting, I wanted to try to get across the feeling that they’re out across a great distance. Through the hills and valleys, I tried to keep the light and the main focus on the girl. The light comes down in streams from that middle cloud in order to justify the light that is on her head, which gives her a holy quality. It came out fairly well, but I struggled with this painting. 116


IF YOU ENJOYED THIS PREVIEW, CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO ORDER THIS BOOK!

Nick Cardy: Behind The Art

Nick Cardy has been doing fantastic artwork for more than sixty years, from comics, to newspaper strips, to illustration. His work on DC Comics’ Teen Titans, and his amazing comics covers, are universally hailed as some of the best in the medium’s history, but his Commercial Illustration work is just as highly regarded by those in the “Going Home,” 1982, oil painting, 24" x 36", ©2008 Nick Cardy know. Now, this lavish full-color hardcover lets you see what goes on behind his amazing art! Nick has selected dozens of his favorite pieces from throughout his career and shows how they came to be in this remarkable art book. From the reams of preliminary work as well as Nick's detailed commentary, you will gain fascinating insight into how this great artist works, watching each step of the way as some of his most memorable images come to life! (128-page full-color hardcover) $34.95 • (Digital Edition) $7.95 http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=655

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Nick Cardy: Behind The Art