23 comments on “Wonder Girl and Batgirl by Thomas Branch
  1. Im really loving that batgirl design, im gonna assume that’s Cassandra Cain. I like the Wonder Girl design but something about it seems off maybe its the head piece

  2. I kinda understand why you said the designs look “Marvel”. The lack of a cape and Wonder Girl’s sash make it look like a Marvel heroine.

  3. Can I ask a serious question? I don’t mean to be like treading on anyone’s dreams here, and this is fine if it’s been stated, but Thomas Branch’s art looks either heavily borrowed from pictures and celebrity faces or just horribly traced from fitness magazines. I remember seeing a picture of Wonder Woman deadlifting a few months back and it literally looked like Evangeline Lilly’s face slapped on a picture of a woman deadlifting pulled off of Google.

    If he’s stated this is how he does it, I’m fine with it, but the inks on these are inconsistent with his composition in terms of anatomy and proportions. The coloring looks like a mix of Photoshop filters that ends up coming out looking like a “style,” but it’s much too flat in some areas with no transition leading me to believe that there is no way someone could be so meticulous in their coloring using flats with no blending and being so utterly spastic at the inking part of it. I am terrible at inking and my inks don’t even look this jaggy. Also that Birth of a Hero font is painful, man.

    In terms of costume designs themselves, which is what I would assume the purpose of any type of tracing or reference would be, they are actually really good and I can get on board for them being a really nice realistic spin on things. Absolutely amazing.

    TL;DR: I think you’re tracing, or at least making a Frankenstein of reference photos, but I really like the designs in and that of their own. I’m not trying to start a controversy.

  4. I think it’s pretty clear Thomas uses photo reference to create his art. There are plenty of artists who work this way, and as with many things, this sort of thing is a matter of degrees. In my opinion, Branch’s work transcends the reference to become original art. This is obviously a matter of opinion, but his work strikes me as entirely consistent with the methods of art creation in which I was trained. His CHOICES, beyond the initial reference, make it enough of an original piece to be considered as such. It’s a fine line. I think Thomas is on the right side of it, and will continue to support his work here. The accusation that his coloring is a “mix of photoshop filters” is just BS, btw, and I only approved this comment to say so. Those are choices. And as a fairly accomplished colorist, I can appreciate them.

  5. I’m digging the simplified, ninja Cass. Clearly, gadgets are just gonna weigh her down ;)

    And I’m totally a fan of photo reference. Not all of us have mad foreshortening skills.

  6. Like Joe Jusko once said, only in the comics industry is photoreferencing frowned upon. Almost all illustrators outside comics use photoreference, so why should comics artists be damned for doing the same?

    Anyway, these designs look great, the Wonder Girl design could be Wonder Woman with a few tweaks and brunette hair. One thing I’m missing from Batgirl is the bat ears. If Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman could make the cat ears work, thee could be a way to make it work for this design, too. :)

  7. Really like the Batgirl piece. (My opinion is they should have made Cassandra Batwing, but that’s neither here nor there.) Just everything about it clicks with the character.
    Not really digging the Wonder Girl costume. There are some nice elements to it, but it’s just not quite there. I like the headpiece which is a refreshing take on the tiara but still keeping the greek influence. I also like the sash and maybe the emblem.

  8. Seems odd and inconsistent that Daniel Agbodjo got hammered for using a previous work’s outline for his redesign, but this work is apparently OK.

  9. I really dig the BatGirl. I did a similar design for Nightwing a while back. I love the ninja vibe in this design.

  10. I like the artwork. Wonder Girl looks good. Batgirl looks great.

    But Batgirl needs some ears at the very least. I like the idea of dropping the cowl, that mask looks great, and I don’t even mind the cape missing, but without the ears, she loses that iconic silhouette.

  11. I like both of these quite a bit, esp. the Batgirl design. The Wonder Girl is fine generally, but the seams between what I assume to be the armor plates on the chest piece are distracting because they don’t seem to conform to a functional configuration with regard to how the body moves, stretches, or bends. They seem a bit random and arbitrary (which, contrary to Dean’s observation, would make them right at home in the current DC comics design aesthetic). But a nice design overall.

    As far as the photo reference issue goes . . . both characters are shown in fairly standard, generic, and ubiquitous modeling poses that you can find in any multitude of fashion and cheesecake mags and online photos. But making that kind of use of photo reference is a pretty standard practice. Beyond that, I don’t see anything to suggest any kind of swiping in the actual design or drawing itself.

  12. I think both looks are pretty generic. Take the bat and the HIGHLY stylized “W” off them and they could be any one of a dozen characters. Super hero costumes need to do more than look cool. They need to tell us something about the hero. I have the same problem with the new costumes for the “out of time” original X-Men. They look like just generic sci-fi characters, not special or distinct.

  13. There’s a difference between using reference to create art and stealing art and calling it your own. If you don’t know the difference, I’m sorry. I’ve tried very hard to explain it.

  14. I see the pro photo reference argument’s validity and see the process as a costume drafters guide to creating new designs. Any other use is a bit lazy, but in this situation it is about the costume, not the character’s originality, at least for me.

    That being said, I agree with the comment above in respect tot Wonder Girls armor. It doesn’t appear to support torso movement. The Batgirl need ears. Maybe a techy attachment for communication and enhanced hearing?

  15. If I was to take a Nightwing image I liked and copied the the pose but redrew it in my style as Daredevil or took a pose from a Bodybuilding magazine and turned it into the Hulk. Would this be considered swiping?…. The key point would be redone in my own style, but “obviously” referenced if you saw the original.

  16. I’ve had my suspicions regarding the photo-reference thing, but I don’t have any issues with it.
    However, re- the actual design, as I wrote for Branch’s Raven post, they still feel a bit jigsaw-puzzle-y (with all the apparently random seams and lines) and an amalgam of two or three different designs. While I liked some of the design elements in his Raven redesign, I’m afraid these aren’t doing anything for me.

  17. stealing a pose from another artist for your daredevil sketch would be grounds for disqualification here. using photo reference that went beyond merely being a traced image, demonstrated artistic intent, and transcended the source to become something new and worthy of discussion, would not.

  18. But I think even “stealing poses” is hard to prove, since there are a lot of similar poses used in super hero art, in particular. Tracing may be the key, here, when it comes to other people’s art, because linework, facial designs, and how one renders limbs and extremities is being stolen, all of which are important artistic decisions made by the original artist.

    Tracing photos is different because a lot of artistic decisions have to be made in the transition from photograph to illustration that take skill and contemplation to do well and thus makes the new work independent of the original media. Tracing a photo is never as easy as it sounds. Bryan Hitch uses photos for background references and Tony Harris traces photos, but both have distinct styles that blend the traces into the rest of the artwork.

    I think this is what Dean is trying to get at.

  19. Not for nothing but it really bothers me when I see any member of the bat-family sporting finger-less gloves. For a cast of characters that security should be paramount, leaving your fingerprints all over the damn place is just short-sited. Ninja sills be damned.

    Great art though.

  20. I really like this design for Cass but I’d rather she not have a sword. She’s supposed to be all about the punching. Bad enough Lady Shiva is now defined by her weapons where previously her thing was she’s the premiere empty-hand fighter in the DCU.

    Maybe add some of her signature hand-wrapping to this design to make up for it? Or maybe mirror the design on the handle of that katana going up her arms instead? That could be cool.

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