It’s not very often when you get a glimmer of hope to talk to anyone involved in the making of the Marvel movies, but through a random connection from my principle to someone's wife, the unthinkable happened. I got the privilege to sit in on a hour long Skype session with Phil Saunders, the concept artist that was a part of the design team for Iron Man.
Along with seeing some pretty amazing sketches, which I will talk about later on, he gave some amazing insight to what it is like to be an artist in the film industry. Not only has Saunders designed the suit for Iron Man, he was also involved in the making of War Machine, Ultron and the Hulkbuster.
As he talked about his process of getting his thoughts down on paper he drew a head shot of Iron Man in Photoshop using brush tools I didn't even know existed. Saunders explained that he used a process that many drawers don’t use as an approach: completely filling the paper first, then slowly adding more detail to the drawing as a whole, which he so brilliantly compared to as slowly adjusting a camera lens until it’s in full focus. After he was completely done with his drawing he showed us the tools he used for lighting, color blending and how to shape the suit to make it look as realistic as possible.
Once he was done with the more technical side of it his art, he got into showing us photos of his current/finished work, which included designs from the upcoming film Captain America: Civil War. I had already watched the trailer a million times and saw the new gear Iron Man and War Machine had on, but I never thought I would be able to see what went into making armor that makes millions of fans go into pandemonium. Of course he couldn't show much because "there is a Marvel S.W.A.T team holding a taser to me just out of the frame".
As the meeting was coming to a close someone asked the question that everyone was afraid to say out loud……. “is there anything else that you can’t “really” talk about that you are working on BUT you could maybe just give us a name??” Well folks, I kid you not, straight out of the mouth of Phil Saunders, one of Marvel's most valuable designers said, “I’m also working on this little thing called Spider-Man”.
Nothing can prepare us for the experiences Marvel will give us in the upcoming years and it’s a feeling that makes me love the franchise even more. Thank you Phil Saunders for taking the time to talk some kids about the awesome work you do, it was an experience that I will never forget.
My quick picture of the Skype session: