Open Up Steve Pugh’s All-New Invaders Sketchbook Pt. 1

Open Up Steve Pugh's All-New Invaders Sketchbook

On January 22, ALL-NEW-INVADERS #1 offers not only a new take on several classic super heroes, but a return to greatness for Marvel’s original super team. In that sprit, we offer a unique, three-part look into artist Steve Pugh’s sketchbook that will illuminate the groundwork that led to his final designs and layouts for the series.

British-born Steve Pugh returns to Marvel to join forces with writer James Robinson on ALL-NEW INVADERS. His previous work for the House of Ideas included a run with GENERATION X, but ALL-NEW INVADERS will not only mark a homecoming of sorts but also his chance to work with Marvel’s most iconic characters. Steve, in general, how does it feel having a brand-new project at Marvel? What made you jump on-board for this one?

Steve Pugh: The enthusiasm of everyone involved in this book is electrifying. Everyone was so crazy about James’ scripts; and the chance to put the Invaders back on the map that it was impossible to say no! What was your initial editorial direction like? What sort of tone do you want to set for the art on ALL-NEW INVADERS?

Steve Pugh: I think editor Mark Paniccia and James were very open to a range of styles, so long as they served the spirit of the script. I mix it up depending on where we are. The cosmic stuff has an obvious [Jack] Kirby influence, the World War II stuff has an eye to the original [INVADERS] book, and the present day art is kinda following the classic contemporary, everyone’s a bit more groomed, and their costumes look more expensive.

You try and capture the flavor of where you are, but not make them so different that they don’t mesh in the story. How would you describe your working relationship with James here? What are his scripts like, in terms of cues for the art and also areas where you’re to take the lead?

Steve Pugh: James scripts are very tight visually. He puts all the work in to constructing the scene and the angles the panels are viewed from, but he’s also very open for me to run with my instincts if I see an opportunity to go large. We’ve been Skyping ideas and thoughts about the characters and mining into the material for cool happenings and payoffs. In looking over your quick layouts they are very gestured and basic; are you thinking in cinematic terms at all when at that stage? If not, what is carrying you along through those initial bursts of design?

Steve Pugh: With the layouts, I’m really having to tackle the framework of the page. Making sure there’s a flow of panels to carry the readers’ eye, making the trade off in panel sizes between panels that should be big, because they’re important, and panels which need to be big because they have a lot of dialogue.

The actual action of the page is only sketched in around my suggestions for balloon placement, so when I start the actual art I can let the panels evolve as I draw them and let the previous panel inspire ideas for the next. If I try doing full pencils, inevitably I end up redrawing everything because I’ve thought of another way of tackling the panel!

Come back tomorrow for more sketches, art and commentary from Steve Pugh, and mark down January 22 for ALL-NEW INVADERS #1!