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Random Avengers-Associated Thoughts

I've spent a lot of time these past few days sourcing images for drawing purposes. Specifically, images of Jeremy Renner, RDJ and Mark Ruffalo. (Oh, the things I put myself through!)

And I'm wondering: Do ALL men get better looking as they get older (cf Martin Shaw, Tony Head, Nigel Havers etc as well as those above), or only men I found attractive *anyway* (cf Martin Shaw, Tony Head, Nigel Havers etc)?

As I've said before, I find Chris Evans (the actor, not the DJ/Presenter/Producer) *so* bland and inoffensive looking, I don't actually find him attractive. (I honestly prefer the looks of the British Chris Evans - but then again I've always, but always had a THING for red hair.) BUT, when he's 45 or 50, will I suddenly change my mind?

Is it just because (plastic surgery and botox excepted) as we get older the more of our character is written on our faces, in the lines etc?


Or, given that I went on my only ever "meet cute" date - as opposed to having known the guy as a friend for months first (guy eyed me up on the Tube, all the way home, we got off at the same stop - him first and it was my stop, so not deliberate - he said, "Have you got time to get a drink in the pub?" (The Sir Winston Churchill was right by the station) I thought, "Oh, what the hell, live a little!" and agreed... I found out later he was married with two kids but liked affairs, because *every* guy who has ever wanted to date me has turned out to be a git) - with a guy who was 15 years older than I was... is it just ME? Do I just prefer older blokes?

Also: I know RDJ sometimes puts together outfits I wouldn't *dream* of (Iron Man 3 premiere in Germany, anyone?), but every time I see an image from this photo-shoot, all I can think is that he's just said, "Mark? I'm cold! Lend me your jacket?!"

... which reminded me that when my Dad used to get his suits independently tailor-made (I remember going with him to the shop-cum-workshop in the East End, with its shelves of bolts of suitings, its several sewing machines so you didn't have to change needles for different cloth-weights, its huge shears and basting threads and tacking threads and paper paterns everywhere) not only did the guy take an insane number of measurements (I mean, not just arm *length*, so the cuff sits perfectly, with the required inch (to two inches, depending on taste) of shirt cuff below, but round the bicep and the wrist, so the sleeve drapes perfectly and doesn't pull anywhere, which is obvious once you think about it, but how often do you think about it if you usually buy off-the-peg?) and actually ask, "Which side does sir dress?" but Dad always had TWO pairs of trousers made for every suit. Apparently it's a Thing.

Which, you know, Tony Stark and getting suits made for his team-members who had previously, at best, had an off-the-rack altered? (I used to buy my suits from Austin Reed and pay them to get the jacket sleeves shortened, because I'm short with broad shoulders and a long body, so I can't buy from Petite ranges, but Standard/Regular is always too long in the arms. At least with trousers they usually do three leg-lengths - and in my high-heel days before I fucked-up my back, I wanted the legs slightly too long for me, anyway, so they would sit perfectly on my shoes.)

And two things from my childhood give me lots of Tony Stark feels:

Before they were sent away to boarding school when they were eight my younger brother and I played with a girl and boy who lived in a big house just outside of town - because our town in the London suburbs was also surrounded by Epping Forest, so you'd have streets of three- or four- bed semis and the odd detached house and then a mile up the road an eight- or ten-bed house sitting on its own with its gardens merging into the forest (and a mile-and-a-half in the other direction, the council estate of terraced houses, flats and maisonettes) - and with the huge house, dining room, reception rooms, sitting rooms, study, etc etc, the children were only allowed in their bedrooms and the bathroom they shared, the playroom and the kitchen. All the rest of the house was Off Limits. And they weren't allowed to play in the garden, because it was landscaped to within an inch of its life. Which even as a seven-year-old used to make me feel unaccountably sad as well as sort of uncomfortable and unwelcome. (As did their parents never being around, but everything being done by the nanny-cum-housekeeper.) I mean, it wasn't a mansion with a staff, but still, the whole... "Get the kids out of here" thing, you know?

And then, also when I was seven, I went to Italy for the first time - Dad had to work out there, so we stayed for over a month with his friend and business associate, Massimo, who was a multi-millionaire. Gated estate, Olympic-sized swimming pool and an actual mansion-sized villa with *wings* and uniformed maids and things (and he and his wife still spent more time with their daughter than the family I've just been talking about).

Unlike Emily's playroom, Cuci's (short for Francesca) playroom was not a place to get rid of her, but a Palace of Delights, especially to seven-year-old me - she had so many Barbie buildings it was like a village; I've never, anywhere else, seen a Barbie McDonald's! I mean, I had the Sindy town house, four storeys tall and furnished *and* a Sindy TV Studio (and a few years later got a Sindy Fashion Boutique too - yes, I was spoiled! :D) and was therefore the envy of many of my friends who only had the dolls, but Cuci had Barbie WORLD. And other than the Town House, my Sindy and Barbie toys and accessories had to be packed down and put in a crate in the bottom of the wardrobe and in their boxes on top of the wardrobe when I wasn't playing with them, because my bedroom was a good size, but not big enough to have the set-up permanently out. Cuci's playroom *was*.

But one night while we were there, Massimo hosted a party, most of it - this being Italy in the summer - around the pool and the courtyard. And fed-up of going back in the house to enter the code and electronically unlock the gates to the estate every time a guest arrived, he left the main gates open and left it to the staff to answer the front door. The party and open patio doors were all behind the house and the front door was still shut but anyone could get onto the estate.

And then, late that night, he discovered that a window had been forced.

And his first action was not to check the safe, or even find out if the burgulars were still in the house, but to *run* and check if Cuci, my brother and I were still in our beds. Because his wealth made us a kidnapping and ransom risk.

Thirty years later, his panic - and Dad's reaction to that panic - is still vivid in my memory. Because my Dad could not imagine living with that sort of fear for your kids - not where that was your *first* thought associated with burgulars. He felt it wasn't worth the wealth. And it felt weird as a downside to all those lovely toys and *things* and the beautiful house and grounds and swimming pool and everything else we had been enjoying up until then. You know?

So yes, in my head and head-canon, those two families give me all sorts of pictures and ideas about Tony Stark's childhood.

Drawing People

When I'm actually trying to draw a portrait-likeness, I measure key points, either with the image on a screen (or in life, if someone's watching TV or reading and therefore pretty still - it's hard enough to get my friends and family to pose for photos, let alone me drawing) and the whole closing one eye and holding the pencil out technique, or, if I'm copying a photo/printout actually measuring with a ruler the positions of certain important markers - hairline to eyebrows to bottom of nose to bottom of top-lip to bottom of bottom-lip, and similarly across the width - position of nostrils, pupils etc - sometimes also scaling up or down. You know?

But I also, especially to learn the general shapes of a face or if I'm drawing more than just the head or head and shoulders, free sketch, without measuring. I try to look just at the image and let my hand and pencil follow my eye. Very often, I don't bother with shading or colouring these sketches or usually post them because they are often even crappier than my portrait attempts, as far as "likeness" goes (though I did put a few up here in my SGA fandom days) and anyway, they are more for me than for other people, like the notes you make before or during writing.

But I thought my first - unmeasured, unplanned, unfinished, just-for-me - sketch of Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner turned out rather well, all things considered:

Bruce_Banner_001


What do you think?

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
halotolerant
Jan. 26th, 2016 05:13 pm (UTC)
You really have caught his likeness - the eyes in particular and I love the way you draw hair (how do you make all those delicate strands stand out when it's sort of on a background of solid colour because that's how hair is? I always wonder this stuff, I've done totally minimal art and know no techniques) The expression is very intriguing too - a good image to capture, with so much thought clearly going on, so Bruce.

I can see how your experiences really would give you a lot to draw on for the Tony Stark feels. I must admit even now I can feel envy for Cuci and her whole world of Barbie, but yes, to have to fear kidnap like that is an apt reminder of what wealth can bring. How amazing to have had an insight into that world, though.

Is there much canon on what Bruce's childhood was like? I've not seen the Hulk movie with Edward Norton or read many of the comics but I don't recall anything in particular compared to some heroes.
natsuko1978
Jan. 26th, 2016 06:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I love that image - with the head-duck and looking up which should look so mild-mannered, but the shadows around the eyes making him look a bit dangerous. :)

As for hair, I've only found one technique that doesn't make it look like Lego-hair. And that is to take *time* - shade/colour in layers, watching the patterns of locks and almost drawing it hair-by-hair. I use either several different colours or several different weights of graphite - this was B and 3B - and layer like crazy. So I do what it looks like - draw in a "solid" background and then draw over it and over it.

As for Bruce's childhood - ALL THE FEELS. And child abuse warnings!

In canon, Bruce's *alcoholic* father verbally and physically abused him as a "monster" because he thought Bruce's extreme intelligence was a mutation/side-effect of his (Brian Banner's) work on radiation. When Bruce's mother tried to intervene he started hitting her too, and eventually he killed her in a drunken rage when she tried to protect their son. Little Bruce (he was about 8) saw everything.

He's basically a "Canon Stu". :(

Brian didn't get a *criminal* conviction but a psychiatric one - sent to a Broadmoor equivalent, while Bruce went to live with his aunt, uncle and cousin (after spending a variable, depending on source, time in the System).

Bruce's childhood, in canon, is WHY he has a rage-monster inside him. :( (As opposed to Captain America inside him.)

Seriously, compared to most of the team, Tony, with his dad's, "Maria! Get rid o him!" and being a "creation" had one of the best childhoods (if the fan-writer doesn't Stu him with all sorts of non-canonical abuse).

Clint's dad was also an alcoholic, who killed himself and Clint's mother while driving drunk. Clint and his elder brother ran away from the children's home and joined the circus as teenagers and Clint never even went to High School.

Depending on your canon-source for Natasha, she was recruited by the Russian Red Room in childhood and *raised* as a spy/assassin, after being dosed with a version of the Serum.

Even Steve was a sickly kid living in poverty; as his Mom struggled to make ends meet owing to his father's death in WWI.

Canon backstories are traumatic. :(
halotolerant
Jan. 29th, 2016 12:24 pm (UTC)
Wow, poor Bruce! I had no idea all that was in the canon! As you say, no wonder he has a lot of rage inside. I didn't know precisely what had happened with Clint either (although I knew he was an orphan and in the circus). Natasha's background I knew more (and it was in 'Age of Ultron' though not handled well) Actually there was a very good link with Natasha's background in the 'Agent Carter' TV series where there was another encounter with the Red Room.
natsuko1978
Jan. 29th, 2016 10:44 pm (UTC)
Not my scans, but comic posts taken from anonymous prompts on the prompt-meme:
Child!Bruce (young enough to be wearing footie-pyjamas) getting backhanded (plus the-shadow-of-the-hulk) - http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ur2J0zw5NaQ/Uu2vRJmqxsI/AAAAAAAAVwk/VL_ajqVQw1I/s1600/hulk312_9.jpg

Clint's backstory (plus somewhat-bullying!Cap, IMO) - http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lyf2dvqXVQ1qeenqto1_500.jpg

I wonder if I will ever hear anything about AoU that makes me think, "I love these characters! I must watch that!" as opposed to, "I love these characters. I must *avoid* that"?

taste_is_sweet
Feb. 1st, 2016 08:29 pm (UTC)
That's a lot of stuff in one post!

I find Chris Evans really handsome, personally, but I also find Mark Ruffalo and RDJ really handsome too. I think Sebastian Stan is better looking than Evans, and part of that is because his face isn't quite as perfect. I also tend to like darker hair on guys too. Jeremy Renner is less interesting to me. His nose is a little strange and he has the kind of face where he really needs to be moving to be attractive. Much like John Boyega. It's like you can't see them properly unless they're moving.

As for men looking better with age...sometimes? I do prefer them when their faces aren't so round with their puppyhood, but I will also readily and shallowly admit that I found both Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford beautiful in the late 70s/early 80 (Indiana Jones, dear Lord), but not nearly so much now.

I can easily see Stark's life as being like those children you knew when you were little, especially in the house where they could only go in certain places and then were sent to boarding school. Wow. :( I can imagine Howard and Maria Stark rushing to their son's room in a panic, but not taking the time to bother with him otherwise.

That's a really good sketch of Banner!
natsuko1978
Feb. 2nd, 2016 12:10 am (UTC)
Mark Hamill never really did anything for me. But Harrison Ford, yes, I hear you about Han Solo and Indiana Jones. :D Though, IMO, he was at his best, looks-wise, a few years ago, at about the time of the "Crystal Skull" movie, whatever my personal feelings about it as a film. Now, I'm not entirely sure what's going on with his face. Maybe he's too thin? Older faces tend to need a bit more flesh to not look cadaverous (as opposed to the puppy-flesh thing on younger men!). (Or maybe he's had work done and looks worse rather than better for it?)

As for Jeremy Renner, much like Clint Barton, he's grown on me. I know what you mean about his nose, it is rather broad and suggests that he broke it at some time in the past (I broke my nose when I was three, when I fell between the front seats of a car and headbutted the dashboard)... but his EYES. Wowsers. :) And the crinkles when he laughs/grins.

https://hatchexperience.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/jeremy-renner-wallpaper1.jpg

http://capitolfile-magazine.com/get/files/image/migration/11191_content_jeremy-renner-1.jpg

http://static6.businessinsider.com/image/5012e11feab8eae953000004/jeremy-renner-paid-a-stiff-penalty-for-popping-the-wrong-pill-before-a-flight.jpg

True, not classically good-looking, and not *always* good-looking, even when pulling goofy faces, like RDJ manages, IMO... but he has a certain je ne sais quoi. IMO - other opinions may vary and are equally valid! :D

Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment - especially when you say nice things about my sketches! :D
taste_is_sweet
Feb. 29th, 2016 07:16 pm (UTC)
It was a very good sketch! :)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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