A Hero Must Know How to Accessorize

A Hero Must Know How to Accessorize cut paper art by Patrick Gannon
medium: cut and torn paper on wood
Private Collection

click here to Super-size her!

A superhero uniform has only a minimum of necessary features. Gloves and boots are always a good idea for those whose skin is not made of stone or steel. Capes are optional; not everyone can carry them off. Certain nocturnal avengers may favor utility belts and pouches, while those with metahuman powers would find them superfluous.

The only absolute necessity, the one thing a hero or heroine cannot do without, is an insignia. Their logo. Preferably prominently displayed. After all, what’s a hero without marketing?

It’s fascinating to watch the evolution of the superhero costume over the decades. The dudes’ costumes have become less colorful and more practical with body armor, a plethora of pockets and pouches, and most happily, less spandex. The girls’ uniforms… well, they didn’t exactly toss on a pair of overalls to tussle back in the 30’s. These days, it’s gotta be a challenge for the artists to pinpoint which scrap of cloth they can erase without the whole thing disintegrating into separate atoms.

Below you can see a couple pose studies. I was trying to push the poses to the extreme, until I realized that since these are superheroes they’re already there. Visually, I had a great time playing around with the shapes and patterns throughout the piece, not to mention the positive and negative spaces. The chiyogami papers in the cape and uniform are particularly beautiful with hints of gold and glistening white.

A Hero Must Know How to Accessorize sketch art by Patrick Gannon
A Hero Must Know How to Accessorize sketch art by Patrick Gannon


  1. Patrik’s avatar

    Awesomeness personified!

  2. milo’s avatar

    wonderful composition… she’s super powerful! love it!

  3. Kristin Barr’s avatar

    Your work is great. Very cool piece.

  4. nicky linzey’s avatar

    Beautiful cape and I love your patterns in this, oh and the colours. Your work is very original.

  5. Robin’s avatar

    Edgy AND Beautiful !!!!!

  6. Bridget’s avatar

    Yes! Edgy and beautiful. Your superheros ROCK! They interact so well w/the elements…all of your work. You can see the wind and feel the heat. I’m a huge fan of Batman and the dark/gothic serious comics, but really love the funny side of superheros too…i’m thinking of ‘The Incredibles’… the scene in which the superhero costume designer says “NO CAPES, NO CAPES”… a montage of the untimely demise of superheros because of their capes ensues…
    Sheesh, just glad that everyone is safe. What are capes compared to natural disasters.
    She is so fantastic.

  7. Bridget’s avatar

    sorry to comment again, but i forgot to add that the glove is perfect; best part of her garb in my opinion.

    1. patrick’s avatar

      Well, it’s nearly the only part of her garb…

    2. patrick’s avatar

      Thanks everyone! I’ve been enjoying working with patterns lately. Kinda adds a new layer to the work, so to speak. I grew up reading comics and love the idea of superheroes, but as they seem to be giving up on the kid audience in favor of maintaining the aging fanbase, there’s some messed up stuff going on. Not that I think comics should just be for kids, but skimpier clothing does not equal mature.

    3. damon’s avatar

      wow i love it

      also cool to see your sketches

    4. Beth’s avatar

      Brilliant! I had a good laugh with this one. Thank you. :)

      Also, I very much enjoy looking at your concept sketches. I don’t do nearly enough of that myself, and am always in awe of those who possess mad skills.

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