Ladies and gentlemen, meet Jason Baca.
Jason is a model with a fondness for fantasy and superhero art who has, like Drakaina before him, served as inspiration for the work of a variety of artists.
Recently, I was given the opportunity to work with Jason on a set of character designs I was (and still am!) working on. The timing was fortuitous, and I found Jason to be the perfect model for a pair of characters in that set.
Jason sent me a collection of reference photos that really showcased his versatility, ranging from bodice rippers to iconic superhero poses to grim and gritty pulp/noir shots. In each case, I thought he captured more than just the pose by really bringing in the feeling of the character he was portraying. I find Jason's photos to be dynamic and powerful, having that extra something that helps an artist bring a character to life.
Jason's got a well defined physique and clean cut features, which means his shots come out great under strong light and provide the kind of deep shadows an artist or colorist needs to work with.
I used the photos you see above as reference for two of the character designs I've been working on for German author Falko Kotter's series "Relegatia". Falko hired me to work up concept drawings for a long list of characters that populate his world and it's been just about the most fun project I've worked on in a long time, mainly because I was largely given free reign in how I interpreted the characters. Having some great photo reference like that provided by Jason has made the process even better and I think that enjoyment I took really shows in the drawings that resulted.
The following two characters are a father/son team with armor designs based on paintings of traditional Russian knights and stills from the film Alexander Nevsky, with a concept inspired by this 1974 painting by Konstantin Vasiliev and, of course, with Jason Baca as the model for both.
More of Jason's work can be seen online at his DeviantArt page, or he can be reached via his modeling agency page. Also, a quick Google image search will turn up some of the other pieces of art he's inspired.
Jason is also the author and subject of the books Journey of a Male Model and Overexposed, both available on Amazon. Although I haven't read them myself, from the descriptions I understand they're written to describe the process of becoming a success as a male model.
If you're an artist looking to add an extra layer of realism to an iconic piece of work, or looking for inspiration for a superhero design, I strongly recommend getting in contact with Jason and seeing what he can do for you. He seems to have a real love for and ability to represent the fantasy and heroic genres.