Don’t be surprised to see the Bat signal in the sky above Huntington on Friday, Nov. 10 — Batman will be in town. He won’t be fighting crime, but rather modeling for “Dark Knight Sketch Night” at Cinema Arts Centre, where artists can draw the Caped Crusader and his villains in person.
“It’s almost like working with a live comic book,” says Peter Grass, founder of POP! Draw, a business that organizes sketch events. “As a kid, you’d practice drawing by copying your action figures. With a model you get the time to fully analyze the costume and scope it out from all angles.”
HOW IT WORKS
For the first hour, guests can take selfies with Batman, The Joker, Harley Quinn, Catwoman, Scarecrow, Batgirl, The Penguin and Commissioner Gordon. Then, artists of all ability levels, from young kids to seniors, sit in a half-circle around a stage as models cosplaying comic book characters pose.Batman might do five one-minute action poses while The Joker will sit in a chair wearing an evil look for 10 minutes.
“Bring pens, crayons, pencils or markers — however you like to work,” says Grass, who sells $5 packets of pencils and paper on-site. “Do a full-fledged drawing or put figure on top of figure so you can have multiple characters on one page.”
Gina Lento, 54, of Patchogue participated in POP! Draw’s “Star Wars” themed sketch night last year at the BrickHouse Brewery in Patchogue and found it liberating to sketch characters instead of ordinary live models.
“You are not worried about a human being who is critical of whether you make them look thin or fat or if their nose looks too big,” she says. “You are simply trying to capture a character, therefore you have more creative license.”
The vibe in the room is loose and relaxed. Slides are put up behind the models to set the scene such as a rooftop or an alleyway while soundtracks from the various Batman films are played over the speakers.
“It gets you in the mood to draw Batman when you hear his theme pumping in the background,” Grass says. “My favorite is when a villain comes out and everyone gasps. It adds a jolt of excitement to the room.”
Professional artists like illustrator-graphic designer David O. Miller, street artist Jessica Valentin (aka Ratgrrl), illustrator-cartoonist Jay Stuart and tattoo artist Keith Ciaramello will be on hand to offer guidance and showcase their own skills.
“Drawing from the figure allows you to work quickly on your proportions and get the initial reaction to what you are seeing,” says Miller, 59, of East Northport, who has designed fantasy book covers and Dungeons & Dragons board games. “You are trying to go for form and shape. Some concentrate on drawing the face while others go for the whole body.”
The man behind the cowl is Eduardo Rodriguez, 50, of Flushing, Queens, who works as a residential handyman by day and plays Batman at night.
“You lose your personality once you put the costume on, if you do it correctly,” Rodriguez says. “It’s a bit of a high.”
His suit, styled from “The Dark Knight” film, was custom made from Canada and he even wears whiteout contacts in his eyes to look “extra intimidating.”
Mary Grecco, 25, of Centereach will be a vision of red and black as the sassy but sinister Harley Quinn with her signature hammer.
“I love how the kids react to me,” Grecco says. “I get a lot of satisfaction from making them happy.”
Miller, who has participated in the past, likes to see the impact the event has on young ones.
“It gets kids away from computer and TV screens,” he says. “When you draw, you give over to your imagination.”
DARK KNIGHT SKETCH NIGHT
WHEN | WHERE 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, at Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington
INFO 631-423-7610, cinemaartscentre.org
ADMISSION $30 ($25 advance)