Jason Badower/The Death of Hana Gitelman, Part 2
"In panel 3, I wanted you to believe with her that for a split second she can fly. That an umbrella and faith will hold you aloft despite the unimaginative laws of gravity and physics."
"My main goal was to communicate a child-like sense of wonder without dismissing the danger. I'm especially happy with the picture of the young Hana in panel 1. I don't often draw children, and I think she looks great, and she has real personality to me. As I joked in an earlier post, 'I just drew the cutest kid... EVER.'"
"Drawing three totally different Jewish people was fun and interesting. I wish they were somebody as they would probably be nice portraits."
"It's almost impossible to communicate all this action in one image. I drew sketch after sketch of the possible layouts, finally being drawn towards this image. It contains what I call 'implied action'. I don't know what she's doing to move the two bald guys (3rd and 4th from left) but it just works. She emanates a convincing energy that makes you believe that something has happened by the sheer power of her movement."
"Remember, most fights are a series of quick, quick cuts to communicate the action. Imagine that each cut is a panel--a separate image that needs to be depicted. You're looking at close to 100 cuts or more for your average small Jackie Chan fight scene. That's 100 panels or around 20 pages... for a SMALL fight scene. That means you just shelled out $2.95 for what would be a minor fight scene.... Basically a waste of your money as it doesn't progress the plot at all."
"I know a lot of people are going to snicker that it's because I was drawing a woman undressing. That's only accurate on a very superficial level. The naked body is (arguably) one of the easiest things to draw from a technical level. It's also the first thing most artists learn to draw. It's why life drawing the naked figure is recommended as one of the best ways to improve one's drawing. So it stands to reason that the (semi) naked figure is where I'm going to be able to mentally go back to basics and re-evaluate this style."
"When you've made progress in your craft, sometimes you can look over your shoulder and realize that all the baby steps have taken you a mile. Sometimes, just sometimes you can point to one page, perhaps one image as the key point where you stepped up to another level. Panel 4 is that image for me."
"This is an interesting page. It's all smoke and mirrors, and everything I've drawn you don't actually get to see!"
"[The] last tough thing was Hana's infection by the computer virus. Again, if you look closely into her red eyes, you can see the words of data/text in the whites of her eyes. I took artistic license drawing the blood trickling down (we all know there's no gravity in space) but I couldn't think how to make it work any other way."
"As you can see by the lineart, there is a great deal going on in the background that is not present on the final painted page. In the past when I have worked with Annette, she has been reluctant to place in effects or layers which would cover up the linework that I had drawn. I would ask her to do what the story requires. If I had over-drawn an area, then that's my fault. As is obvious in this case. You can see all the background that I drew--the chairs, the monitors and the background textures and details. But I decided that the 'tech cloud' should be all encompassing and dominating. I also used it as a means to make Hana stand out more. "
"For such a low-key show like Heroes, a bolt of lightning from someone's head was going to look incongruous. But I realized I had very little choice. I tried to overlap the technical data into the lightning bolt to make it look like a technical signal. If you look, the 'forcefield' is made of red data. I think Aron's captions really helped here."
...I mean, first she cops a death-ray-like-computer virus beam, then she JUMPS ONTO THE SATELLITE! My god. I wracked my brains for ages to make this fit into normal Heroes continuity. I mean, you would NEVER see this on an episode. I decided to try and play up Hana's pain and her sacrifice. I wanted panel 3 to let you know she is really dying. I mean, globlets of blood floating in her helmet? Eyes bleeding? You know it's bad."
"What you see... is the lineart for this page. This picture of Hana is ALL I drew on this page. I'm a lying, cheating and swindling bastard. NBC and all the Heroes fans should lynch me."
"This was so damn tough for one reason alone: Niki. I drew, redrew and redrew that picture of Niki. It killed me. Even after I sent off the final montage page, I came back and with an hour to spare, redrew this page. So despite me touting the revolutionary new drawing technique, I still got done over."
"Personally I blame my lack of photo reference. Do you realize how far back you have to go to get a picture of Niki not in a [strait] jacket? Really far. Really, really far. Then consider how little I had to work with and then I had to find a picture of her with the right expression with a reasonably similar lighting. Suffice to say, my likeness of Niki is inversely proportional to my likeness of Micah. I don't wanna blow my own horn here, but the likenesses of Micah on this page are pretty damn solid."
"Of additional note is that I decided to letter this page also. Once I had designed the user interface for the captions, as well as the font, I thought it would be easier if I just did it myself. I did specifically ask Frank [Mastromauro of Aspen Comics] to make sure that the letterer was still paid for this page. I didn't want to go taking anything anyone's pay packet just because I decided to make an artistic call. The lettering is most of the actual artwork--I mean, look at the lineart. Again, there's barely anything there."
"I'm still stunned by my ability to just know when to stop. It obviously didn't work for Niki, but hey, there's always casualties in war. I find that the lineart on this page doesn't look a thing like Hana, but the painted art makes it look like one of her glamour shots. I'm very happy with it. It has a nice angelic look (intentional based on her angel references in part 1) while still homaging the digital noise that she has now integrated with. The hardest thing was to not make it look like the Matrix.
So I made her blue."
"For the longest time I knew how the series was going to end. People begged me to tell them. But at the end of the day, so few things come along in life that are worth the reveal. I felt that this was one of them. You don't want to read the answer in some blog or on an email. You want to see it yourself. You want to see Nathan turn up at the last minute. You want to see Hiro stabbing Sylar. You want to feel Niki and Mohinder's desperation."
"When I got the description of this page I pestered poor Frank [Mastromauro] and NBC for as much reference material as possible. They came through with the goods and I managed to get screen caps for everything I needed. I wanted this page to be as authentic as possible. I'm pretty sure that everything except for Hiro's sword is perfect. On the reference they gave me I could see the red sword, but I'd never seen it before. I had no idea what it was and thought it must be a stunt prop that they would colour correct later. So I just drew Hiro's sword instead, and in some ways it looks better like this."
"This page was the culmination of everything I wanted to see and feel at the end of the Heroes Season One finale. I've had some fans comment that it was everything that they wanted and didn't get, which is incredible praise."
"My blog was averaging around 500 hits per day for a week after [The Death of Hana Gitelman, Part 2] was uploaded. Before that it averaged about 7. The idea that 500 people were taking five minutes out of their day to see my behind the scenes process. That blew me away. It was the most inspiring validation of my art that I'd ever received. I also want to especially thank the 80 or so people who drop by every day to quickly check what I'm doing. Your support means the world to me!"
Notes about Jason's drawings are taken from his weblog.