morgan girvin

illustrator, maker and hermit

The Original 24x36” Illustration and the final Coloured Illustration


Here’s my 24x36” Illustrated Poster for Matt Reeves’ The Batman! This was a private commission and was a finicky to conceptualise and subsequently bring to life (AKA it was both a huge joy and a frustrating ball ache).


As with my Batman Returns Poster, when presented with the opportunity to do a piece for Robert Pattinson’s outing as the Caped Crusader I knew that it would have Gotham as it’s focal point. One of my favourite things about Matt Reeves’ film is that it gave us a dirty and distinctly characterised city that I felt was sorely lacking from other, more recent, entries into the franchise(es).

When combing through screenshots from the film it was fascinating to see how interlinked a lot of the architecture is. The train station is just outside of Riddler’s apartment, which in turn is just above the Iceberg Lounge and around the corner from the diner. You also get a lot of dense shots of the city as Bruce and Selina are weaving in and out of buildings travelling from place to place. As with all Batman films, there’s also a large (but false) dichotomy between the Elite of Gotham and the Underbelly. So I knew that I wanted to have both of those featured. At the bottom of the frame there’d be the lowlifes, and the top would be sprawling cityscape.

I realised pretty early on that I’d have the train intercutting through the middle of the artwork. It would work as a solid divide so that I could transition from close up street on the bottom through to packed skyscrapers. Actually bringing this to fruition however, was a nightmare. I had a hard time figuring out the exact layout of how things could be. In my early sketches I wanted Batman and the Batmobile in the foreground, watching over, but it proved really difficult to hint and them and not take up a significant amount of frame. You can see a variety of my sketches below:


After I had the concept hashed out, I started to try and figure out the perspective. This was a lot of back and forth on both paper and digital. Eventually I got a rough pencil sketch done, which I refined into a better pencil sketch. I then scanned it in and altered it digitally to iron out some of the kinks and unfinished bits (For instance, I copy and pasted the train carriage and bridge rather than drawing the rest of it). I was also able to add in the people digitally, this was a lot easier since I suck (big time) at anatomy, and there would have been an ungodly amount of erasing going on had I handdrawn them right off the bat. All previous concept work had been done on A4 sheets of paper, but now these pencil sketches were done on A2 to try and incorporate the necessary detail.

After feedback I then tweaked the new hybrid sketch slightly and started thinking about how it would be coloured. Initially I thought the sky would be black, so that it would parallel Batman’s black cape in the foreground. One of the initial ideas I floated was for the piece to be in black and white, with flecks of red throughout. We didn’t decide to go that route however, and instead did it in full glorious colour. Here are some (but certainly not all) of the colour developments I did:

After A LOT of tinkering, I finally settled on a sketch and colour plan that I was happy with. This is potentially the most trial and error I’ve ever done with colours, but I’m ultimately very happy with where it ended up.


After I had this all worked out, I scaled up the hybrid sketch and printed it out. I then used it as a template for my linework. With this piece I really wanted to try and include a lot more black than usual, and a lot of that came from the sky. This ended up being a huge mistake, as I ultimately decided to do the sky in colour and I had to give the buildings linework where the sky was now removed, but I think it was worth it. Below are some photos from the drawing process:

And then finally once I had it all scanned in and stitched together I was able to colour it! Since I had already planned out the colours earlier on, it was easy to just eyedrop tool them into the final artwork file.

Hopefully you like the final Poster!

(If you don’t then no worries, but feel free to keep that information to yourself).