When Deepak Bhatt was indulging in yet another deep-scroll session through social media, he came across a challenge organised for the virtual DC FanDome comic convention event. It asked fans to create their own incarnations of Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman, in anticipation of the WW84’s release in 2021.
Deepak shrugged at the challenge, and carried on scrolling but the idea of engaging in something like this held novel interest. He eventually put stylus to tablet, and in six to seven hours, he rendered an effigy of Wonder Woman that, little did he know then, would grab eyes all over the world.
On July 2, the young artist was tagged in a post by @wonderwomanfilm, which he assumed was a fan account. As more notifications and congratulatory messages poured in, Deepak realised his work, along those of a handful of other artists around the world, was selected for DC FanDome. “I didn’t know how to react!” he laughs. The Facebook post by the official Wonder Woman film page received more than 2,600 reactions and 929 shares.
Artist Deepak Bhatt
So how did this design come about? “My friend who’s a wedding photographer was showing me his recent shoots,” explains Deepak, “and I saw a photo of the bride in all her ethnic jewellery in beautiful vivid colours. That resonated with me and I guess I saw Wonder Woman there, so I thought why not merge these two ideas and create something unique?”
The elements of a sari, jewellery, make-up and body language were important in creating this visual, but only to some degree — too much, and it would have appeared gimmicky. Given the superhero is known for her suit, Deepak opted for a veil draped over her shoulder. He also wanted to go full-on with the jewellery, deciding on a choker, jhumkas, maang tikka, bangles in place of the Bracelets of Submission, and a nose pin.
Tools of the trade
- Deepak insists that one need not invest in the most expensive set of tools to create art; it is about the passion and the practised skill. At the moment, he favours his XP-Pen graphic tablet, but is hoping to change his gadgetry.
- He uses Adobe’s Illustrator and PhotoShop, depending on the type of work he does at a given time. Illustrator is geared more towards vectors, rather a more concrete illustration which is not very articulated. PhotoShop, however, is better for a free-hand approach.
“I made the decision to keep the background a simple blue-to-green gradient,” comments Deepak, “as I wanted the eye to focus on her, on her power, on her strong body language.” The gradient colour choice could remind one of the oceanic palette of Diana’s homeland of Themyscira. Deepak chuckles at this, “Maybe! I wanted to leave some room for perspective.”
It was a deliberate choice to omit irises in the eyes in this rendering of Wonder Woman, points out Deepak, because he wanted to bring out her inner-demi-god, as though there is a burst of otherworldly energy emanating from her.
Like most artworks in the public eye, many people argued against Deepak’s portrayal of Wonder Woman as Indian. “There are some people, even in these times, who thought an Indian woman should not be wearing what Wonder Woman wears,” he says, before saying he does not let it affect him at all because the artwork was his personal opinion.
Living in Delhi under the lockdown, Deepak has been enjoying the solitary time to create more artworks, leaning to landscapes more often lately. “I had always been inspired by video game art, especially loading screen artworks of Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto series which I played growing up, and also and Red Dead Redemption 2,” Deepak recalls, “and I wondered who made these incredible works, while wanting to take that on.”
The placement of graphic artists and illustrators is important to Deepak who is making helpful IGTV videos under his Instagram handle @d.b.creations.