Step-by-step: Saturn Girl -- inspired by DC Bombshells

If you’re at all familiar with DC comics, you’ve probably heard of DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS, a series set in an alternate timeline, wherein many well-known DC heroines (as well as some anti-heroines and a few villains) take on slightly different histories in a World War II setting. Most of the characters mainlining the comics are female, and the primary conceit of the series is that the costuming of these heroines is somewhat evocative of the forties pin-ups and (airplane) nose-art of the era.

While the writing of the series is only so-so and the interior art often uneven (sometimes varying in quality from one panel to the next), the real standout of these comics is the cover art by Ant Lucia, which is worth the price alone. Indeed, so good is that art that many of the images have been brought to life in a line of collectible statues that are for the most part extremely well wrought, down to the detailed painting of the faces. (I personally covet the Supergirl statue, but unfortunately the price is a little too steep for my budget – not being one of those writers who has made millions off his book.)

Inspired by the BOMBSHELLS comics, I created a Harley Quinn poster for my nephew Nicholas, who collects comics featuring Harley Quinn (and some of the ancillary items related to the comics). That poster (of which you can see a step-by-step creation sequence here) was based on the Harley Quinn of the BOMBSHELLS series and was rendered in colour pencil. In keeping with that theme, I decided that for my next BOMBSHELL I’d be a little more original and come up with a creation of my own centred on a DC COMICS heroine who (to the best of my knowledge) has not appeared in the BOMBSHELLS comics to date. Accordingly, I chose the somewhat less popular Saturn Girl (from the Legion of Superheroes) as my subject.

As you can see from the images, she’s given the full pin-up treatment, her costume designed to harken back to the forties era, but with a bit of modern design aesthetic. The background is intentionally subdued, but if you look carefully you’ll note that it’s a sort of art deco city of the future, in keeping with the fact that the Legion of Superheroes exists several centuries from now. I didn’t want the background to overwhelm the figure, and I also wanted it to be something of a throwback to the forties.

This poster measures approximately 43cm high by 34cm wide, and like the Harley Quinn version before it is largely executed in coloured pencil (Prismacolor Premier series), with just a bit of marker for the BOMBSHELLS logo (as was the case with the Harley Quinn poster) and some white paint for the outlines of the city in the background.

I hope you enjoy this piece; let me know what you think.


It starts with a basic sketch; just a rough for proportion and composition.

The sketch is refined a little and some detail added.

More details as the figure is fleshed out.

Stars added to the leggings.

The figure is given further detail.

Outline of BOMBSHELLS logo is added.

The rough-in of the BOMBSHELLS logo is completed.

The SATURN GIRL logo is added.

Colouring begins, using Prismacolor  Premier colour pencils.

Adding the base skin tones in colour pencil.

Colouring the bustier and the canvas runners

Colour added to the hat.

Colouring the hair and adding some shading and highlights to it.

Adding shading, shadow, tone and highlights to the figure (including the Cassini division in the hat brim).

Adding the base layer of the background.

Completing the background colour.

Completing the SATURN GIRL logo, with shading and highlights. The background future cityscape is added in white highlights only so as not to compete with the figure.

The completed image, with coloured BOMBSHELLS logo designed to "pop" against the background and give the illusion of depth.