According to Wired.com, Downing’s initial plan was to create 365 brand-new superheroes in one year. However, that year-long project has turned into three years and counting.
So far, Downing has created 285 unique heroes and bad guys.
Downing says that 2013 will finally be the year that his superhero project will be completed.
Downing spoke to Wired Design about the means to his madness:
“I got into a rut, I wasn’t drawing enough and a friend told me I was over-thinking things. I just needed to do something I was really into that wouldn’t require too much thinking. I started thinking about designing superheroes and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it. I threw the gauntlet down and decided to draw a super every day.”
In order for him to generate ideas easier, Downing has a list of hero names that he created with friends. The list is full of impressive monikers, plenty of puns, and even suggestions from loyal readers.
“A lot of my super designs are driven by this list of names. If you have a list of names it’s easier to schedule.”
There are three categories in which he describes the names that he attempts to draw.
The first category are the names that he thinks sound cool, an example being Power Fist. The second category is for the the names that are puns and word plays, such as Re-Pete. The last category is for the names that are just plane weird, like Lance-a-Lot — a half man, half unicorn “mythic crusader from another world, who wields a sword made of righteous light and shoots a rainbow of wrath from his horn!”
“This just goes to show you what can happen when you forget about everything and just draw for fun. This is probably my favorite super I created for this blog. These things come in waves. Sometimes the ideas just come and I’ll just belt them out, other times I’m not so excited. When I stay consistent and do it daily, there are times I scrape the bottom of the barrel and I have to be OK with the bad ideas. When I’m working on bad ideas, I know a good idea is just around the corner, that’s how it worked with Lance-a-Lot.”
Downing continued by saying:
“Doing something like this is completely worth it. Looking back, it’s a time capsule of where you were at that time. There are ideas where when I’m done I think it was terrible, but a few months later I think its great.”
If you are an aspiring artist and are thinking of taking on a challenge like this, then Downing has some advice for you:
“If your going to start something like this, some things are going to look bad. You’ll have to throw away 10 OK ideas to get one great one. I want to get these bad ideas out so I can get to the nuggets of gold.”
He also warned other creators to not be too worried about fan responses:
“Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a lots of likes and buzz and chatter. You should be doing it for yourself and the other stuff comes second.”
Downing also warns other creators that they should fully understand their project before making a public announcement:
“When I started, I said ‘365 I can do that!’ Now that I’m in the 280’s I think ‘why didn’t I say once a week?’ That’s just 52. I’d be good by now!”
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see the finished list of superheroes.