It used to be that if I was going to pick up my pencils and do a drawing of a woman then the woman would be Winona Ryder and old habits die hard I guess even if I’m now firmly in the digital art space.

This picture was created by reference to a collage of two images I had as a semi-transparent layer. Once I had got the basic position of head, eyes, neck, shoulders, knees I switched off the reference layer. In fact I had to tweak the head position, the leg position and the dress because in the original I think she’s wearing a vest top and a skirt.

I know that it’s not immediately recognisable as Winona; it’s an impression – it would have been easy enough to trace the face exactly, but I wanted to draw free hand and use the tools as my disposal to try and draw what I saw. Also I wanted to see how much simplification I could get away with – aiming for a comic book feel. That’s why the eyes are slightly too large and I really haven’t done very well with the hands.

I learnt a lot about the shape of Winona’s face, about shading using various brushes and layering techniques and about what to choose to show and what to ignore. I think the face shot I used was taken around the time she starred in “Alien Resurrection”. I recently saw her in the film “Homefront” which kind of triggered my desire to do a picture in Manga Studio.

Yes the hands are cringeworthy!

Jason Statham is the main star of “Homefront” – he plays a retired cop who moves to the country with his young daughter after the death of his wife. A minor bullying incident at the school she attends triggers a series of increasing violent episodes in the small US town centred around Statham’s character. Written by Sly Stallone this was originally intended as a Rambo sequel and I could see some vague similarities to “First Blood” in the way Statham is picked upon by unsavoury folks. The writing is excellent and while the violence is as cartoonish as my picture at times the quality of Stallone’s characters compensates immensely. The bad guys are not painted black but in shades of grey.

The villain is played by James Franco and you can feel some sympathy towards his character up to a point – he has a tweaker sister who winds him up and a stash of crystal meth he can’t sell without dealing with a violent gang of bikers. Statham’s character put one of the bikers behind bars and killed his son in the line of duty and it is this connection, once discovered by Franco’s character, that triggers the most extreme violence. Ryder plays Franco’s skanky girlfriend who used to hang out with the bikers and can therefore approach them to make a deal around distributing the drugs.

She plays the ‘least bad’ character of the pack of antagonists (if you don’t count the dumbass sister’s husband) and is instrumental in rescuing the daughter from a violent fate towards the end of the film. There’s a scriptwriting 101 ‘fight between hero and villain on a bridge’ at then end, but as I said the writing really is rather good and so much better than any of Statham’s other recent films which tend to see him running around beating the crap out of people. Not that he doesn’t do that in this film, but he seems to have a real purpose in this film and you can really root for him instead of just sitting back and trying to predict when he’ll dish out his next Superman punch or kick in the balls.