Kode, pronounced ‘code,’ has produced some pretty recognizable digital art, well known under the handle BossLogic. If you frequent any so-called geek sites you’ve likely run into his stuff at some point. Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, he’s infusing digital pop culture art with some righteous industrial flair. We recently spoke with the artist himself to pick his brain about digital art, how he achieves it, what he finds rewarding and what he’d do with a subject like Thor: Ragnarok, if given the chance.
GF: In terms of procedure, how do you do it? Do you start off with a sketch then scan it in or do you start from scratch digitally?
K: “I have many different styles that I am currently learning. The photo manipulation side, I would start off with a subject being a pose I found awesome, and then I would think of a character that would look good with it. In most cases it’s Spider-Man [laughs], and then I would paint on suits textures and compose the image into a live action scene.
“As for my illustrations, I always draw it first before going digital.”
GF: Speaking of which, what Photoshop tool can you not live without?
K: “I really love every tool in Photoshop. Sure, there are many I don’t use, but they do come in handy from time to time. And the tool I can’t live without is the pen tool. That is the holy grail.”
GF: What is your strongest compositional element? Color theory, use of filters, airbrushing, etc? Any textures you particularly like to create?
K: “Color matching, blending, and I’m pretty proud of my knowledge of lighting. Still got a way to go before I can actually master it. Creating superhero suits with detail is super fun. I love the Spider-verse–a lot of different types to play with, faves being the Symbiotes. I love retouching, especially when it is down beyond the norm, to enhance an image so much that you can change it into a fictional character.”
GF: What physical features are the most challenging for you to create?
K: “In drawing, for me, it is the hands and the female facial structure. The hands have many joints and can rotate in ways no other body part can.The female face is a complex one for me, since one hard line can change the image.
GF: Is there a particular digital art technique you think is overused?
K: “Well, for me it is the glow style, where you will add neons and glows to absolutely everything, but it works, and I am a light addict so I’ll most likely keep glowing shit up.”
GF: So let’s get into process. How do you choose your subjects? What about the characters you’ve done speaks to you?
K: “Most of my daily works are inspired by the image I find; I let that be the challenge. I would find an awesome pose and create a badass character out of it and bring it to life using the skills mentioned before.
“I also do characters that are rumored to be in talks with a film just to show myself and people what they may look like. That is always fun to do. “
GF: Is there a subject you find yourself repeatedly using or working on?
K: “The Joker. Even though he comes out great, I always feel I never do the character justice. So I see myself making him over and over again till I get him perfect, I just love that guy.”
GF: Any others that give you trouble?
K: “Flash and Superman. Not because they are harder to make but more if you change them the slightest, the world of comics lets you know how they feel in a major way.”
GF: It’s easy to see how that can rile people up. Has there been a particular piece you did that became controversial?
K: “I once made a piece about guns and what they are doing to the people and the youth. It was basically a “put your guns down” piece, but people got super angry with that. So for the sake of not upsetting the people, nor was I saying anything about the rights of the people, I took it down in respect to the people that are responsible.”
GF: While we’re on the topic of controversies and art, what are your thoughts regarding alleged oversexualization of women in comic book art?
K: “Ahhh this one is a touchy subject so I’m just going to say this: I don’t tend to think it is too oversexualized. I grew up with superheroes in tights, being male and female, and I don’t look at them that way. And I am happy with how they are since it is a comic, an escape from what is and isn’t in the real world. There is a lot of drama we are bringing into the fictional world from the real one.
“That being said, I understand the argument and why many would be mad. Reason I am neutral and accept change whenever it comes as long as it’s best for the comic.”
GF: Do you prefer to draw men or women in your own art?
K: “Definitely men. Just find that structure easier for me, and women are hard because to making them appealing to the viewers, you have to draw them sexy. Something I have not mastered yet ,but that’s the trouble. It is very easy to draw them bad or too sexy, and they tend to upset many. [laughs]”
GF: Is there one character you haven’t approached yet that you want to tackle eventually?
K: “There is a secret list of characters that I would love to make, but I’m waiting till I am better at what I do, so I can create something special. But some names are, Thor, h’el, Thanos, and a lot of Amalgoms.”
GF: Since you bring up Thor, and sinceThor: Ragnarok is about to start filming, what’s one character from that franchise you’d love to take on if given the chance?
K: “Would have to say Hela. She is amazing, and I love using the color green in digital art even though I don’t get the chance to much.”
GF: She’s a compelling villain. Do you prefer to draw villains or heroes?
K: “I love villains. They are what make superheroes look good. Guys like Joker, Doom, Black Adam are just so badass to make. Oh and not to mention Superman going DarkSide. Can’t tell me you don’t love that.”
GF: So if you could illustrate any literary classic, what would you choose?
K: “I have fallen in love with Game of Thrones so I would love to do something in that area one day.”
GF: I noticed you have a few memorial pieces in your portfolio . Which was the more emotionally-challenging to complete?
K: “The ones you see are people that inspired me in my life at one point in time. One that really hit home was the Muhammad Ali one. The fact I grew up loving everything about him and the heartbreaking feeling knowing what he was going through in his life. But I am happy he is resting now. No more pain and struggling.”
GF: Who would you rank among the most under-appreciated graphic artists?
K: “So many, my god. [laughs]
“Reza-ilyasa–some of the best robotic designs I have ever seen.
Adnan Ali, concept artist, too humble for his own good
Fatoe, legend in the game, but many don’t know who he is. One of the main reasons I do digital art.
Tommaso Renieri— another artist that deserves way more love.
SonarFates – Dean has been grinding as long as I have known him, and you can tell by the caliber of his works these days.
“There are way too many to name that deserve to be in the spotlight.”
GF: There are a lot of misconceptions about what defines art and how design is different. What’s your interpretation?
K: “Cheesy as it may sound, design is something you think about and create to send a message to the onlooker, to understand or buy what you are saying or selling. Art is something that you feel and transfer it to something visually to provoke thought and emotion, in your own interpretation or the on looker’s own.
“Design is seen the same for what it was created for. Art is seen different, with life and life lessons one has gone through in their lifetime. If that makes sense.”
GF: So when all is said and done, what’s been the most memorable work you’ve done to date?
K: “Doing work for Capcom on some Street Fighter wallpapers. It was not too much of a big deal, but the fact it is the game I love and grew up with made it what it is for me.”
Here’s to hoping Kode finds a way to work on some Game of Thrones projects in the near future. His modern, industrial interpretation should prove pretty epic. One word: Wildfire.
You can visit Kode’s site, BossLogic, Inc., to get his latest blog posts, see his brilliantly cool portfolio and even purchase merchandise.
All images used with permission via BossLogic