The idea behind this project is the result of a long process, even if the image itself is rather simple. Some elements in this illustration are almost immediately recognizable : there is this obvious influence of Bruce Timm, the character designer of the Batman animated series from the 90's. There is also the old suit that Batman wears, the particular pose of the characters, etc... so let's begin, from the start !
Bruce Timm : the original inspiration
From the moment I told myself that I wanted to become a decent 2D artist (about 6 years ago) and therefore a decent drawer, Bruce Timm's art has been one of my first inspirations. As a kid, because I happened to watch some episodes of the Batman animated series of the 90's, I already had a glimpse of what the guy's art looked like. And in 2009, I came across some pages of his comics "Harley and Ivy" on the internet and I had an immediate crush on it. I loved his curved and angular lines, his dynamic inking, the simple solid colors and shading used, the way he managed to give his characters so much expression despite a very synthetic drawing.
Then I bought the book and I loved the drawing even more. Because of the limitations of the animated series format and its constraints, I couldn't enjoy Bruce Timm's art properly. The comics format was a great medium for him to emphasize the elements that I already liked in the animated series, beginning with the attitudes and expressions.
Killer Croc : my favourite villain of the Batman's universe
Speaking of this animated series is a great transition for me to tell you about my fascination for Killer Croc. Here is the explanation (I will try to make it short !) :
When I was a kid, watching TV in the morning during the week-ends was kind of prohibited at my home. My parents didn't like it because they thought we could do better things instead (like reading, playing with legos or friends... this kind of stuff). Yet, one morning, I challenged the authority and came across an episode from Batman, the animated series. From this moment, I was already afraid to be caught disobeying. But then, I watched the whole episode and I was simply terrified. The story was about Killer Croc who manages to escape from prison and Gotham City. I remember seeing him running through the forest and the mountains and it gave me shivers : the guy looked monstrous and very bad. Then, Croc meets a small travelling circus company and he makes them believe he's a nice guy. That was the point when I became absolutely petrified and fascinated by him. I wanted to tell the nice ringmaster, the siamese twins and the other guys to flee if they wanted to stay alive. I was afraid for them, I was afraid of Croc and I was afraid of being caught by my parents watching TV on a saturday morning : I was definitely in a bad position.
By the way, the episode is called "Sideshow" and I think it is the worst fear that I had watching something on TV as a child. I watched it again a couple of years ago and found it more ridiculous than terrifying. I will say something obvious but things can look very different after growing up. Nevermind, this experience made Croc my favourite villain in the DC universe.
I knew that at some point, I would have liked to make a fanart of Killer Croc based on my fascination for this character as a child.
The illustration itself : how I made it
As I was looking for some references for another illustration project, I found this picture :
(I don't know who made it and for what. If you know, I would be happy if you could tell me :) )
I immediately imagined Killer Croc as the giant and Batman as the deer.
The next step was to consider how I could tweak the poses to give Croc a "cool hunter" look and Batman a "supreme victim" appearance. So I thought about the vintage 70's Batman series where the "Dark Knight" sports that blue/grey/yellow suit which is great and silly at the same time. Conversely, I gave Croc some Converse shoes and bikers black pants to look cool. As a tribute to Bruce Timm, I kept his Batman design with the 70's suit instead of his grey/black one. For Croc, I wanted to give him a more personal look, yet inspired from what he looks in the animated series. Then, I adapted the poses : I kept Batman conscious (rather than unconscious or dead) to emphasize the "victim" aspect : all he can do is letting Croc's brute force drag him without being able to do anything to escape. On the other hand, Croc seems effortless doing so : he makes a cool sign with his hand and his body is not bending due to the moderate effort consisting of dragging around a struggling 100 kilos charge.
The synthetic coloring is another tribute to Timm : simple solid colors with a bit of shading.
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