godzilla sketchbook

i recently started a new project based on the king of the monsters – godzilla. i’ve been drawing from the showa-era films (which covers 15 films from 1954-75), and have been working from gojira himself as well as a range of foes, allies and combatants. some people now criticise the first film (and others), because of the dated effects etc, but i think it still really stands up 65 years later as a relatively strong piece of work. the opening credits to the film with its deafening monster roar is relentless and terrifying, and although he’s introduced in the daytime appearing over a hill, the monster is particularly effective when he gets into action in the scenes set at night. i think that the destruction sequences of the original still contain a lot of power, even after all this time.

although i usually like working with characters, i’ve found that the drawings become less effective when you start to see more of his face – particularly working from the later films because the costume was changed and his eyes were made much bigger (as well as other things like his spines being reduced in scale too). the first costume is a monstrous thing of beauty when seen from the side, it’s such a massive behemoth of a beast that you can’t imagine anything stopping it. later on it looks more anthropomorphic, which is i think part of the change in costume design to allow greater movement and flexibility for performance.

these drawings were all done on my ipad pro using the procreate app. i’ve been sketching with the dry ink brush which was a new thing for me, but seemed to give quicker coverage, and at times a more defined edge, than the 6B pencil brush i was using previously. i’ve still not perfected it though, and at times find it a little inconsistent and hard work to be honest. i’m also working with a reduced opacity too, so as to layer up the initial mid-tone before adding darker tones and highlights. i’ve been sharing videos of the drawings on social media if you’d like to see them take place from start to finish. i’m going to do some more sketches and develop a series of refined/finished drawings that’ll be worked up as digital collage pieces. but for now here’s a selection of images and a few i haven’t shared elsewhere – i hope you like them, and let me know what you think.

About chris cowdrill

i'm an illustrator, i do graphic design and i teach graphics at a college
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2 Responses to godzilla sketchbook

  1. Shaun Morris says:

    These are brilliant, Chris. They capture so well the spirit of those great films

  2. Pingback: godzilla showa-era tribute | chris cowdrill's blog

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