It's Throwback Thursday again, so it's time to look at one of my old pieces. This week I want to reflect on an illustration I made around 2007 called Buffalo Soul.
Buffalo Soul is about the Buffalo Soldiers, the black division in the U.S. military before it was integrated.
It was originally conceived for a commission for a dude who wanted to make a teeshirt celebrating the Buffalo Soldiers. Since I didn't know much about them, I did some research and did sketches to flesh out what I wanted them to look like.
There are two aspects to the sketches. I was concerned about the details of the characters' uniforms and stuff to be as accurate as I could make them, while also being fun and not stiff and boring.
So some of the sketches lean into that pretty heavily.
Again, I wanted to have fun with it, so I thought a lot about how I thought some of my favorite comics artists would approach this if they were me.
I have lots of influences, but I can tell you that I was consciously thinking about Frank Miller, Walt Simonson, Eduardo Risso, and Chris Bachalo a lot during this process, because they make people in street clothes or regular uniforms look incredibly fun to draw.
So here is the pencil rough. I was SUPER HAPPY with this! I think it incorporated the mythological scope and attitude I was looking for with the piece, and it had the basic requirement for accuracy in my mind.
This brings in elements of period/historical/western, fantasy/sword & sorcery, as well as superhero comics.
There was only one problem. I sent this rough sketch to the client, and never (to date) heard back from him.
But I loved the piece so much that I finished it anyway.