John Constantine sketch by tydesign

Sketch Challenge No. 12

Artist’s Notes

Hello fellow comic fans! John Constantine has arrived … at least my sketch of him has. Like John, himself, my post took its own sweet time making it in front of your anxious eyes. Don’t fret, however, we the founders of Sketch Fury are a committed bunch and we promise not to go too long sans post. I could launch into a multitude of reasons on its tardiness, but who wants to read that?

So without further delays let me tell you when I first encountered John. It was way back in the 1990s! Superhero comic books ruled the day with their fancy variant chromium covers, slick die cuts and seductive crossover events. In the darker areas of the comic rack came John, hands afire, steely eyes, and a snarl that suggested he was no hero.

That was Hellblazer, a comic book series from DC’s Vertigo line that delivered what superhero comics couldn’t — the dirtier world bordering on the abyss. Back then the hero books had sales numbers to maintain, while Hellblazer and its Vertigo brethren explored rich, complex, and satisfying stories. Who were these master storytellers that pulled me away from mainline comics? You’ve heard of them: Garth Ennis, Neil Giaman, Grant Morrison, and Alan Moore to name a few. But as you all know, it’s the cover art that compels you to flip through. For Hellblazer, it was the work of Glen Fabry that drew me in and made me a believer. It left an unmistakeable imprint on me.

So a tip of the hat and a devilish wink to DC’s Vertigo storytellers. My Constantine sketch is in your honor.


What an incredible time to be a comic nerd. Comics have now proliferated the small screen thanks to DC’s The Flash, Arrow, Constantine and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. This composition was referenced from the promo images for the show with my own added flourishes. While I appreciated the cityscape in the original image, I wanted to put more of the occult into my sketch and speak of the lost souls. My sketch of Constantine comes off looking like Willem Dafoe to me and not at series actor Matt Ryan. And I’m ok with that. He feels more sinister.


Like many of my sketches, I again started with the blue line, but unlike prior drawings I ended with it. I became so engrossed in the drawing that I couldn’t stop. There was a grit and rawness to it that warranted me stopping where I did. Part of being a good artist is knowing when your work is finished.


The hands. They aren’t the best, but somehow I’m ok with them. They feel raw and dirty. They feel sinister.


  • The composition. Even though I had a reference image, I barely referred to it. It was more inspirational and I’m quite happy with the adjustments I made, adding the darkened sky, crows and hand silhouettes. There’s a real graphic quality to it that I could see finished with inks and colors and I may just do that one day.

Sketch Tools

  • Pilot Color Eno Mechanical Pencil – 0.7 mm – Soft Blue Body – Soft Blue Lead
  • Paper Mate Tuff Stuff Eraser Stick
  • Tombow Mono Zero Eraser – 2.3 mm – Circle – Black Body
  • STAEDTLER 526 B209 Mars Rasoplast Black Edition Eraser
  • Utrecht Red Double Spiral Sketchbook, 70 lb, 80 Bright White Acid Free Sheets

Coming Weeks

  • More study on hands. I want to do more dynamic poses with them.
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