Danny Rand, AKA Iron Fist, is one of a long line of superheroes created at Marvel Comics that has continued to capture imaginations to this very day – including mine! The hero, orphaned and left for dead in the mystical, lost province of K’un L’un, where he lives among the monks there and learns ancient kung-fu techniques before defeating a dragon and gaining the power of the Iron Fist! And that’s pretty tame by Marvel’s standards…
Built to capitalize on the rise of Kung Fu and blaxploitation cinema and TV of the 1970’s, Iron Fist teamed up with Luke Cage, and later formed the Defenders, which is currently being adapted for television by Netflix. Last week, the trailer for Iron Fist was released and I was hooked.
So I decided on an Iron Fist-centric piece for my next project for the blog. Key to continuing the art therapy is to draw from things that make you emote and to try and gather things around organically. For me, if I have too many pieces lined up, I’ll get stressed out and that’ll make me rush through them or feel negatively about the picture (which is the exact opposite of what I’m trying to achieve) but if I have an idea lodged in my head that I can’t get out, then that gets pushed to the front of the queue!
Brushes – medium hairs, variety of round and pointed tips
Paints (watercolour and acrylic)
- Ochre Yellow
- Lemon Yellow
- Sap Green
- Titanium White
- Vibrant Red
For some reason, I don’t make things easy for myself so the canvasses I buy are notoriously difficult to paint straight onto. To start I sketched out the outline of Iron Fist’s head and his fist, punching up towards the air in 2b pencil (I’ve found that the softer the lead, the less likely it is to etch into the canvas). I then mixed up a green/black wash using a water and acrylic mix, covering the canvas – starting away from where Iron Fist’s head would be, allowing me to fade to a light green.
Once dry, I started with a thin lemon yellow/water (acrylic) mix and built up the base colour of Iron Fist. This process took a lot longer than I originally anticipated but I was able to create an interesting blend of sharp yellow, which worked well to help add depth.
I then used a similar mix, slightly more paint this time, but with watercolour lemon yellow. I went over the picture and was able to pick out the detail around the knuckles, shape of the hand and the mask. I then used a light ochre yellow watercolour/water wash to add depth to the jaw and neck. I was also able to use a very weak lemon yellow wash to highlight the ‘smoke’ rising from the character.
After allowing each stage to dry, I used black to make out the shadow around the eyes and jaw. I also used the ochre yellow mix to continue to build depth into the face and the arm.
The really fun part! Here’s when I added the detail, using white/lemon yellow acrylic (mixed almost straight from the pot without adding hardly any water) and solely white to define the ‘glowing’ bone structure from within Iron Fist’s hand. I flicked red watercolour onto the face to get a nice blood splatter and touched up more ‘injuries’ around his face and neck. Finally I used a white wash and dragged the brush upwards to give a smoke effect, contrasting this with black using the same technique.
I hope you like the finished result and let me know your thoughts! And please check out that trailer – Iron Fist is going to be awesome!