Brother Ajax

I’d just watched “Kick-Ass” for the third time, and was inspired to do Big Daddy, who I think is a more-plausible version of Batman. However, as the under-drawings progressed, I got hung-up on the anatomy, and so this sort of evolved into just another muscled male figure. At the end, after first settling on the background you see, I added the eye-makeup, the dot on his head, and the emblem on his chest, just to sort of make a character of some sort out of him. The name was something I was kicking around from having recently watched the movie “Troy”. (Ajax was one of the Greek leader-warriors attacking the Trojans). I conceived of my character as thinking of himself as a reincarnation of the ancient/mythical Ajax, and that he is insane. This piece was done digitally from start to finish. No pencils involved, just a stylus.

Brother Ajax: final layout

Below are the steps from the final rough under-drawing (there were three under-drawings before that, that I failed to preserve) to the finished piece (save for the logotype and the final layout).

An animated gif of the above progression:

Before I settled on the final logotype, I tried a number of different fonts. Thanks to Kevin Parks for his input on this.


Mark Celis’ Online Illustration Portfolio

I guess it’s now LONG-past time that I set-up a one-stop link for an online “portfolio” of my illustrations. So: below are some of the best (in my opinion) of the past few years, displayed from the latest to the earliest, covering mostly the last five years. I hope you enjoy them.

“Sue Solare” for the 2013 National Paper Doll Convention

Face Detail for the above Illustration. This is a digital painting in Photoshop using a photo of an actress named Lauren Ambrose as reference, seen side-by-side for comparison.

02_Lauren Solare

Hit-Girl” from “Kick Ass” and “Kick Ass 2

“Hellboy” from “Hellboy” and “Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Laura Kinney (X 23)” Marvel Comics’ female version of their character “Wolverine”.


“Storm (Ororo)” from Marvel Comics’ “X-Men”.

A “Space-Babe” Practice for “Sue Solare” above.

Spider-Man after Todd McFarlane.


A Classic Supergirl

“Hank” interpretation of an original character for a Weekly Sketch Group challenge at

“American Woman” a sort of re-imagining of a “Wonder Woman” type character.

“Captain America” inspired by the recent movies.

“Green Lantern” inspired by the recent movie.


“Paradigm” an original character of mine.

A Stylized Portrait of a good friend and neighbor of mine

A “Skrull “ for a Weekly Sketch Group challenge at featuring the Villains of the “Fantastic Four”.

“Whiplash” an original character of mine.

I’m first and foremost a “cat” person, but I like dogs a lot, too.

“Flying Batman” a re-imagining of mine for Batman’s suit, with folding “wings”.

“‘NEW’ Batman” Another rendering of a re-design of mine for Batman’s suit.

“Dr. Manhattan” inspired by the movie “The Watchmen”.

“Corona” an original character of mine.

Another one of MANY “Space Gals” I’ve Illustrated over the past few years

“Elinore” one of the feature characters in Ralph Bakshi‘s classic animated movie “Wizards”

This “Space Girl” was during a period when I was emulating the great Chris Sanders. I leave it to you whether I succeeded.

A “Space Girl” taken from my sketch, then rendered in vector format in Adobe Illustrator

A character I created named “Trailer Trish”. Aliens always seem to be dropping in on the backwoods people.

“Bronze Bot” a photo-collage combined with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop elements to create a mechanoid in the “Steampunk” style.

“Cuddle Bear” Another piece started as a sketch, then rendered in Illustrator. I entered the name “Cuddle Bear” into a translation website to get the Kanji characters. I wanted a “J-Pop” feel to this piece.

“Robo-Ex” This piece was started as a simple Illustrator animation, which I later rendered-out, adding special lighting effects in Photoshop. Inspired by the online sci-fi comic series: “Varla Dayne”.

“‘Buck’ Celis” This self-portrait as myself as a “Buck Rogers” type was for a self-promtional flyer, advertising the design and graphics services of “Captain Quickdraw”.

Using the Adjustment-Layers in PhotoShop

An example of a layer mask which can be used o...

An example of a layer mask which can be used on another layer in an image editing application. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quick discussion of the “Adjustment Layers” in Photoshop CS. I posted this recently in my favorite Drawing Forum: Penciljack. I thought it just might be helpful to others new to Photoshop coloring, so I post it here, as well. I apologize for any confusion if the palettes and menus have changed dramatically in later versions.

I’ve placed an arrowhead above the icon on the bottom of the Layers Palette image here, and you can see that I’ve applied a layer mask to the layer. They’re called “Adjustment Layers”, and you have all the same choices with them that you do under the “Adjustments” menu under the “Image” menu. In my example, I have the “Color” layer above the “Background” layer, set to normal. Above that, I have my “Shading” layer, using about 50% grey, set to color burn. Above that, the “Lineart layer, and above that is a “Hue/Saturation” Adjustment layer (circled in red), with a layer mask so that it only affects the lips. I’ve used THIS layer to change the underlying layers to give me the red-lip color you see. You can also keep applying adjustment layers on top of that, changing them even further. You can also change the setting in any adjustment layer if you change your mind. As you can see, the Hue/Saturation layer ALSO changes the color of the linework in the lip area. To avoid that, just move the linework layer above the adjustment layer.

(click on the image below for a larger view)

Batman: My First Digital Inking

I’d recently seen the Warner Bros.’ Animation DVD: “Gotham Knight”, and was inspired to draw Batman striking a dramatic pose. This is my first attempt to “ink” digitally. Done in Photoshop CS1 (yes: CS1! Remember: I’m the guy that still uses dial-up), with a Wacom stylus. I was just going to “ink” this as a practice/first experiment, but liked how it turned out so well that I went ahead and finished it. Below are the four main stages of this peice, from the finished to the original drawing, in descending order.

Batman ┬ęDC Comics

1) Final Color Version

Batman: final color

2) Intermediate Stage Colored

Intermediate Color stage Batman

3) Ink version with cel shading

Digital Inks with Cel Shading, Batman

4) Original Pencil version

Original Pencil Drawing, Batman


Kevin Parks made this gif of the above:


Batman Progression


Please visit his blog: Drawn to Distraction. He’s currently doing some really fun and creative work for the SkADaMo (Sketch A Day Month, 2012)