Invincible Character Study by Todd Nauck

Hey, everybody! My name is Todd Nauck. I’ve been a professional artist for about 18 years. You may have seen my work in various Spider-Man comics and books for Marvel or Young Justice and Teen Titans comics for DC Comics, to name a few.

I am currently drawing a new comic series at Image Comics called Guarding the GlobeIt’s a new book from Walking Dead creator, Robert Kirkman. The series is about a team of international superheroes. One of the stars of the series is a character called Invincible from Kirkman’s flagship superhero series by the same name.

I’m going to walk you through a grayscale character study of the current hero bearing the “Invincible” name.

Starting with a 9”x12” page of 96lb Canson recycled Bristol board, I do a rough pencil drawing of the figure. I use a mechanical pencil with .05 HB lead. Then I take it to inks. I primarily use Pigma Micron markers for inking with 08, 05, 01, and 005 tips. I also used a Kuretake brush pen to fill in the black areas.

Todd Nauck - Invincible Character Study with Copic Markers
Now it’s Copic sketch marker time! First I lay down the base color for each part of Invincible. As a general rule of thumb, I use warm grays for colors like red, orange, yellow, and brown, and cool grays for blue, green, and purple.

I like to leave white areas open as I create shapes to use as highlights.

I pick a general light source as a starting point. This shot has pretty much a straight on (and a little from above) light source. I create shapes on each plane of Invincible’s face and body, for example each facial feature and muscle grouping. I make sure to leave appropriate white space for the highlight.

For each “color”, I’m using a different shade/tone for gray. W01 for “yellow” parts of his costume and C03 for the “blue” shoulder/chest part of the costume:

Todd Nauck - Invincible Character Study with Copic Markers

N05 (neutral gray) to render (sculpt the shapes with color) the black portions of his costume and W04 for his skin tone:

Todd Nauck - Invincible Character Study with Copic Markers

W03 for his lips and N01 for his goggles:

Todd Nauck - Invincible Character Study with Copic Markers
With base coats down, I move one color notch darker to start rendering the shadows. W02 to shade the “yellow” parts of his masked brow & cheekbones, neck, chest, arms, and abs:

Todd Nauck - Invincible Character Study with Copic Markers
C04 to shade his “blue” shoulder and chest muscles:

Todd Nauck - Invincible Character Study with Copic Markers
N06 to render his muscles, with the shapes coming out of the black portions of his costume and Wo5 to render his flesh tones:

Todd Nauck - Invincible Character Study with Copic Markers
In this close up photo, you can see where I drop in W05 shadows at his cheekbones, nostrils, left side of his nose, under the bottom lip, bottom of his chin and his smile lines. I also filled in his hair with W06:

Todd Nauck - Invincible Character Study with Copic Markers
I use a N03 Neutral gray to start a background element to help pop Invincible out in the foreground:

Todd Nauck - Invincible Character Study with Copic Markers

Now that I’ve laid down the base color and initial shadows, I like to go back over each section and layer in more of the base color to help darker certain shadows. I am applying the lighter base color on top of the darker shadows to make the shadows even darker, creating a type of layering effect:

Todd Nauck - Invincible Character Study with Copic Markers
Then I take a lighter shade of each gray and blend each section. I cut into the white areas as necessary to blend the color into the highlights. The great thing about Copics is that you can use a lighter color over a darker color and it won’t ”infect” the lighter color’ marker’s tip with the darker color. (And if for some reason it ever does, the tips are replaceable!)

I also cut in some N04 in the background to create a little more depth using W00 for the “yellows,” C02 for the “blues,” N03 for the “black” areas and W02 for the flesh tone.

Todd Nauck - Invincible Character Study with Copic Markers
I cut back in with a little bit of my original shadow color choices to pop the muscles or facial features with a little more of a harder edge as desired:

Todd Nauck - Invincible Character Study with Copic Markers
Here’s a scan (as opposed to the previous progress photos) of the grayscale rendering of Invincible! It’s fun how our eyes will discern the colors the grays are representing:

Todd Nauck - Invincible Character Study with Copic Markers

My experience with working with Copic sketch markers has been about experimentation and practice. The fun has been in discovering the shapes I can achieve with the brush tip and the broad tip, utilizing saturation of the marker on the paper, and the layering and blending of colors. I’ve found that my style has evolved and probably will continue to evolve as I experiment and, most importantly, have fun!

Thanks for letting me share my Copic color process with you! Feel free to visit my blog and social networks for more of my art:

Official website: http://toddnauck.com
Copic Color Gallery: http://copiccolor.com/ToddNauck
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Todd-Nauck/128706905684?ref=sgm
Twitter: https://twitter.com/toddnauck
Deviant Art: http://toddnauck.deviantart.com/
Tumblr: http://toddnauck.tumblr.com/
InstaGram: toddnauck

See my art EVERY month in Guarding the Globe from Skybound Entertainment and Image Comics! Issue #1 has sold out issue #2 along with the second printing of issue #1 went on sale Oct 3rd. And issue #3 is on sale Nov 7th so there’s still time to get in on the ground floor!

This comic and many of my comics from my career can be found for sale online or at any comic book store.

I’ll also be a featured guest at the following conventions this fall:
Long Beach Comic Con, Nov. 3-4, 2012
I-Con, Nov. 10, 2012

Thanks again, and keep on drawing!

Todd Nauck


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  • colleen

    This is wonderful! Very clearly stepped out…. thank you!

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  • Mike C

    Hi Todd,
    I just recently came across some of your videos on YouTube. Just wanted to take a moment to say Thanks, for taking the time to share some of your knowledge with those of us aspiring artists who may be just starting out. Really enjoy your artwork and look forward to more great tutorials like this one. Thanks again.