THE ART OF
SUPERMANIA is proud to be the permanent host for a sampling of works from one of the most prolific and talented artists influenced by the classic Superman Movies.
Hailing from Buenos Aires, Sebastian Colombo is a dedicated Superfan whose considerable skills manage not only to forge dynamic pieces of contemporary art but also to breathe new life into his subject, making us believe a man can fly all over again.
Sebas has also taken his craft to the next level by sculpting 3D portraits of Christopher Reeve and Batman Adam West while continuing his life’s pursuit of creating the ultimate screen accurate Superman: The Movie costume. Sourcing fabrics as close a match to the originals as possible, the project has been aided by a visit to the Propstore’s main facility where Sebas was able to examine one of the original suits intricately and obtain all the measurements and colour matches required to fashion the ultimate replica.
SM: Sebastian – Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions for the readers of SUPERMANIA – can you first give us a little history about yourself and you’re origins?
Firstly, my thanks to you Martin for be always showing interest in my projects and supporting them. I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1976, so Superman The Movie and myself were gestating simultaneously!
The Image of Chris Reeve as Superman was one of my first memories, in my young mind, the man I saw on screen was Superman for real. My father always bought me Superman and Batman comics since I was young, so the page, the Superman movies and the Batman TV Show all contributed into making me what I am today, a passionate artist influenced by the superheroes of my childhood across all media. I love to draw, sculpt, retouch images and make the costumes that made such an impression on me.
SM: When did you discover you had artistic talent and how did you explore it? What were your earliest inspirations?
I always drew just because I liked it but when people started saying more and more that they liked my work I started to listen. As I started to develop I submitted some examples of my work to a publisher called PERFIL in Argentina to try and get the job as artist on their RAMBO comic. They loved what they saw but as I had no formal training they didn’t think I was ready. Learning to draw was the most difficult thing in the world at the time, as it was very hard to find someone with the skills to teach. I took guidance and inspiration from comics, my favourite artists were Jim Aparo and Jose Garcia Lopez, then in my teenage years I went crazy for Jim Lee’s art.
SM: What was your chosen medium and how did the onset of technology affect it? Can you talk us through how a particular piece is produced start to finish? How do you achieve that ultra-realistic look?
I always used pencil until I asked a friend who was a talented painter to colourize my work. I had opportunity to showcase my work at Comic Con in 2005 and got a lot of compliments from independent publishers but was met with indifference by DC and Marvel. Another artist friend said I should try doing my own colour so I experimented and found my style. I always loved the realism of Alex Ross so tried to use similar techniques but was always limited by the supplies available in Argentina. Some time before 2005 I was working a lot on restoring Superman photographs using Photoshop and caught the attention of Jim Bowers at Capedwonder.com who wanted to put them on his site. I later applied all that experience to colourize my art.
I’ll firstly sketch out and paint a piece by hand and then use the same technique for retouching photos to achieve the realism I want. Of course I use photo reference to get it looking so lifelike, but unlike Alex Ross (famous for using his own photo reference) I had to rely on existing images. I hope to be able to create my own in future. Now I own a tablet I use that to get even more realism into my art. I begin by making a quick sketch of the pose I want and then search for photo references, starting with the head. I’ll then work the body around it as having a completed head helps influence a more naturalistic body. I do all of this with photo references next to the drawing, taking colour samples or anything else I need. When the piece has taken shape I adjust all the colours, shadows and lighting to give it the final punch.
SM: Do you have a favourite piece of your own and why is it so special to you? What does it represent?
‘The Reign of the Superman’ is my favourite, and seems to be for of lot of fans. There’s a giant print of it in Metropolis, Illinois where a lot of fans and even celebrities like Dean Cain take photos under my illustration of him as Superman. Although they never asked me for permission to use it (I would’ve provided an upgraded file in HD if they had!) I love to see people made happy by something I created. Like any artist, however, it upsets me that my signature was erased…