Adventures in Illustration: Batman Edition

I talked about inking in a previous post, so for this one I want to discuss my inspiration from comic book artists. This was my main inspiration growing up, and my work retains an anime/cartoon style.

Ty Templeton: Batman Adventures

Beautiful wraparound cover for Batman Adventures Annual #1

I was an avid Batman fan after seeing Batman (1989) in theaters, and this comic was a great supplement to Batman: The Animated Series. I honestly like Templeton’s work more than the stuff in regular Batman comics because of the deceptive simplicity of lines and the Art Deco style, but that’s heresy in some parts. Seriously overshadowed sometimes by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, but Ty Templeton‘s work is equally awesome.

Bruce Timm and Paul Dini: Batman: The Animated Series

This fight scene is just beautiful. The lines are clean, the expression perfect. The hands!

The dynamic duo, Paul Dini and Bruce Timm are some of the key innovators in modern comics. It was a blessing to be at a formative age and watch them working  on Batman: The Animated Series, The Adventures of Batman & Robin, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited. Truly inspirational. I spent hours watching those shows, pausing at key moments, drawing and redrawing, and trying to learn.

Fun fact: my original copy of Mad Love was my treasure, bought on release day and read carefully. My little sister put a glass of ice water on it, and I raged at her. It’s still a point of contention, jokingly, but still that comic was my character design bible for awhile.

Tim Sale: Batman: The Long Halloween

Poison Ivy’s hair is just amazing!

To say that Tim Sale‘s Batman: The Long Halloween made a huge impact on me is to grossly understate how influential those books were. The art style was gorgeous and unlike anything I’d yet seen (at the time), and to this day Sale’s Poison Ivy in particular is my favorite rendition for the expressionistic, surreal illustration of the character.

Brian Bolland: Batman Comics


I’d be lying if I didn’t say The Killing Joke is one of my favorite comic books, even though it is deeply problematic for how DC comics took a stand-alone story and incorporated it into canon, refrigerating Barbara Gordon for awhile and refusing o heal her even when Batman, back broken by Bane years later, is miraculously healed. The story and dialogue are great, but the artwork is where it’s at. If you haven’t picked up the book because of what happens to Batgirl, there are other Bolland comics around!

Dave McKean: Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth and the Sandman series

The don’t skimp in the raw imagery.

The ultimate in expressionism and surreal illustrations for comics, Dave McKean was and remains a giant in the industry. A McKean cover is distinctive for it’s symbolism and tiny details, the off-putting sense of dread, and use of color to evoke mood. I own a tarot deck illustrated by him. His work made me want to make art in a way none of the aforementioned pieces did, though all contributed to the snowball effect of my ultimate course. His work was disturbing, evocative, and downright creepy in a way that resonates. His combination of media is inspiring.

I hope y’all enjoyed this as much as I did! Do any of these influences resonate with you?

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