Christopher Uminga is an illustrator, cartoonist and artist who's widely known for his very distinctive and stunning artistic style (just take a peek at his official Tumblr and DeviantArt pages to see some of his wonderful work). Recently, he has created art for DC Comics and its collectible toy line of DC Artists Alley designer vinyls (where he designed Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman), as well as for Disney's WonderGround gallery.
Uminga graciously spent some time with SYFY WIRE sketching Batman's ultimate foe and DC Comics villain, The Joker, during which the artist explained his process behind drawing the villainous character. Uminga touched upon why he developed his own unique style, how it actually came about that he got involved with DC, and the inspiration he uses when drawing the Clown Prince of Crime.
"I got started drawing like this on this style because I really wanted to work in comics," Uminga explained about developing his own style. "I didn't like traditional house style, and I was always trying to draw house style, and it just looked like… I don't know, it didn't look very good. So one day, a friend of mine — she and I decided to put on a gallery show using characters that we liked but doing it in a style that was more true to ourselves and that's where this started. This was about nine years ago."
So, how did he get involved with DC in the first place?
"Last year, my kinda dream came true and I was approached by Jim Fletcher at DC Collectibles to work on a really top-secret little project that he and his team were putting together called DC's Artist Alley," Uminga told us. "They asked me if I wanted to be kind of, say, the guinea pig along with two other great artists. I remember getting the phone call and then they told me, 'We'd like you to do Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman,' and that's the Trinity. And I remember being really calm, kind of held myself together, said 'Yeah of course I'm gonna do this,' getting off the phone and losing my mind because I was finally getting a chance to work on the characters that I loved the most. I got to do the Trinity as my first introduction to DC Comics."
As to which various design elements he chooses when putting pen to paper as he draws the Joker, one of his favorite inspirations comes from Heath Ledger's iteration of the character from Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight.
"I always draw him with jacked-up teeth because I'm like, he gets beat up a lot, and I think it gives a lot of character to him and it makes his smile kind of a lot more interesting. At least to me. So every time I try to do something... to do different, I'll try to do a pupil different, I'll try a different smile, different hair. But I like to keep him in a suit, like a black suit. And because there's been so many kind of incarnations of this character in the movies and comics, I kind of tend to borrow something from each. You'll see when I do the face, I use a lot of the Heath Ledger kind of makeup because I love that grungy dirty look on this really well-put-together gentleman."
Check out our exclusive video to see Uminga at work on his amazing Joker sketch and let us know what you think in the comments.
Additional material by Nathalie Caron.