Book Review: Rough Justice: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross

Rough Justice: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross

I would say this book is as good as Mythology, his other art book featuring his paintings.

In this book, we see the groundwork he lays for those paintings. There are sketches storyboards and layouts, character designs, covers and hand scribbled notes. Many of the sketches, like various iterations for covers, are appearing from the first time. And it's not really all black and white, there are a few pieces painted quickly with colour for quick colour tests. I've to add that the scans are really good also, showing off the marvelous shading and grain.

You get to see the final pencil stage, before shadows and paint are added, as he focuses on the contours and surfaces. The usual powerhouse cast of DC characters are all in: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Black Canary, and many more. But it's not all character art. There are also design sketches for the Justice Batmobile, logo designs and concepts he did for a literacy campaign (which shows Batman hanging from a stone gargoyle from some skyscraper while reading a book).

The drawings look really quite different without the colours and I could barely recognise to compared with the original paintings from his previous book. But make no mistake, the same flair and realism is still there on every page. You can still see the intense attention paid to the detail of musculature, composition, lighting, facial expression, drapery and mood.

There's also commentary by Alex Ross himself, in addition to the hand scribbled notes. He talks about his designs, the creative process and on why some ideas just didn't make the cut.

Highly recommended to fans and comic artists.

5 out of 5 pencils.

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Rough Justice: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

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11 Comments

Thanks for the review!!! what

Thanks for the review!!! what will we do without you! lol, hey is there by any chance you get to review the Age of Heroes book it has the cover painted by Alex Ross and is about all of the Supeheroes tv series! hope to see this one soon!

Hi Parka, this is going to be

Hi Parka, this is going to be my first post.

I am from Germany and I have bought this wonderful artbook of Alex Ross. Thank you very much for the review. Your review was the main reason, why I ordered the book. I have never read any American comics, but Alex Ross' realistic art style applied on superheroes is beautiful.

I would like to ask if you have self-made book wrappers for your artbooks? I do not have many artbooks, but I would especially like to have a self-made book wrapper for "Rough Justice". This book comes with a book jacket (Superman raising his fist) enfolding the proper hardcover (Batman giving somebody a beating). The respective book jacket is easily 'vulnerable' to fingerprints.

Is there any elegant way to make a custom book wrapper protecting artbooks? Especially for artbooks like these which have two different front and back covers (The Art of Iron Man artbooks are the only example I know which have this situation)? Please enlighten me, Parka! Or am I just too paranoid about this matter?

I would thank you for your enlightening response to my question. Keep up the good work!

Your shelf must have unlimited space. I think it is not arogant to have a photo of your magic shelve on your website ; )

Hi Parka, Thanks fort he

Hi Parka,

Thanks fort he great reviews. I have a question that I am aware can only be answered on a personal basis. Comparing Alex Ross's books (Rough Justice and Mythology) and Jim Lee's Icons, which one would you say is the best book for an aspiring artist to study in terms of technique, design, and figure construction in general? Again, I know the answer can only be personal -- but I'd appreciate to hear your take on that.

And to add an even less fair question to this post: if you were to pick only one out of these three books, which one would you pick, and why?

Thanks!

Hey Parka!

Hey Parka!
I would like to ask if I bought the Rough Justice already, would it be ok to buy the Mythology? Would there be a huge difference?

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