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    Entries in Character Design (2)


    Singular Sensation: The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman

    This Singular Sensation entry spotlights the illustration of the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman that I did for the header for this site.  These are two of my favorite Oz characters to do, and I especially enjoy drawing them together and showing the tremendous bond that these two characters have for one another.  In most of Baum's books, they both have castles in the Winkie country to the West that are very close to one another.

    For the Scarecrow, I do go back to Baum's text with details like one eye being bigger than the other.  However, I'm also greatly influenced by the depictions that John R. Neill and Michael Herring did of him as well.  I wanted to convey a sense of him being a little off balance, like Ray Bolger was in the MGM musical.

    Nick Chopper, the Tin Woodman, presents a special challenge when looking at how Neill and Herring depicted him.  Their renditions, quite frankly, defy the laws of physics.  They draw the Tin Woodman with nearly two dimensional limbs that are hinged basically with pins onto the sides of his torso.  This leaves him incapable of a wide range of movement, but didn't stop them from somehow depicting him holding his ax with two hands.  I wanted to base my version a little more in reality, so there was no real way that he would be able to reach across his own body to point toward the Scarecrow if his arm was simply pinned at the shoulder to his torso.  For me, the solution was to basically treat him like he was a human-sized action figure and give him ball joints that not only hinged, but swiveled and allowed for rotation.

    Neill and Herring depicted him basically wearing a suit of tin with the collar, the side pockets, and the buttons down his torso, so I did as well.  They'd also draw him wearing spats on his feet, a bow tie around his neck, and a flower "pinned" on.  One thing that I added that's usually forgotten, is when the Tin Woodman gets his heart from the Wizard of Oz in the first book, he is patched up on his chest, and a gold star is placed over where his heart is.  This gold star is usually omitted by many artists, but I like to add it, because I think it's a nice detail that adds more character and visual interest to him.

    Scarecrow and Tin Woodman by Kevenn T. Smith ©Kevenn T. Smith 2009

    Pencils, Ink, Prismacolor Color Pencils,  and Photoshop.
    ©Kevenn T. Smith 2011

    Now available on a t-shirt at!


    2008 National NOW Conference

    My frequent collaborator, Ray Caspio, was contacted by a representative of NOW, the National Organization for Women, concerning a Wonder Woman piece that he had posted on his website.  The NOW National Conference: 2008 was coming up, and they wanted to use his Wonder Woman illustration for the cover of their program book.  It was decided that a new character needed to be created for this, for rights purposes, and that's where I came in.  Ray and I talked about what the costume should look like and what goals we wanted to achieve with it.  We wanted to create a new character that had a classic 1940's Golden Age of Comics look, but I wanted to give it a slightly modern twist.  Ray had to use his original illustration as a basis for the illustration for NOW, but with a change in the costume and coloring details.  The design needed to be an homage to Wonder Woman without being Wonder Woman.  I came up with this:

    Ray Caspio then used the costume elements that I came up with and transposed them onto his piece, creating what is now the program cover and image used by NOW to promote the conference, where the theme is "No Capes, No Masks, No Boundaries: Super-Women Unite!"  The design can be viewed in the Illustration Gallery at Ray Caspio's site.