Sep 07 2008

Superhero Visual References: Gloves

B. Mac provides another set of gear to help you design superheroes that don’t look goofy.  (See his collection of boots here).

1)  These stretch gloves are as simple as gloves get.  They will help your hero look more human and relatable.

2) These are also very conventional.  Like #1, they lend themselves to human-looking gestures but are more professional and smooth.  The contrast between the light-gray and charcoal portions gives these a mild sci-fi vibe, but you could easily eliminate that by recoloring the light gray portions.

3) These look poorly-fitted and uncomfortable.  To make these look less uptight, I’d recommend ironing out the pockets of air in the finger and palm.  I like the longer sleeve, though.  It helps makes the hero feel epic and out of the ordinary.  The long sleeve would be very appropriate for, say, Superman (if he wore gloves).

4) The bold seams here give these a gritty, badass feel.  But these could easily be adapted for a light and whimsical character like Static Shock by blending the seams and changing the colors.  The straight lines are clean and striking.  The logo space could easily be adapted for something appropriate for your superhero.

5) These gloves are too bulky around the fingers.  The character’s gestures will probably look unnatural.  However, that could be advantageous if the character is a villain, particularly one that’s supposed to be a faceless henchman.

6) These gloves are gaudily military.  I wouldn’t recommend using them unless the character’s uniform is otherwise very military.  To adapt these gloves, I would reduce the color contrast and simplify them by removing the straps.

7) These look like something Robocop or a dystopian biker might wear.  Armored gloves will always look unhuman, but these are particularly unhuman because of the strange protrusions rising from the fingers.  If you wanted to make this character look more heroic, I’d recommend ironing these gloves out and making them smoother.

8) These are similar to #2 but more badass.  I’d recommend simplifying these by removing the ornamentation on the thumb.

9) These are more Golden Age.  B-3 pilots crews wore them.

47 responses so far

47 Responses to “Superhero Visual References: Gloves”

  1. Armondon 10 Nov 2008 at 9:16 pm

    Hey, what do you think about fingerless types of gloves?

  2. B. Macon 11 Nov 2008 at 1:05 am

    For the right character, they might be appropriate. However, I feel that they typically make a character look like he’s a hobo, in a cheap biker gang or the protagonist of Pokemon. I don’t think they look good.

    What do you think about these?

  3. Nathan Holdenon 30 Nov 2008 at 10:29 pm

    I have to wonder, what about work gloves, like the kind you might see at a Home Depot? I mean, yeah. All these above gloves are cool. But unless you’re going to write into the story some reason he’s got access to high-tech gloves, then it begs the question, where’s he gonna go to get heavy-enough-duty gloves to work for a super?

  4. B. Macon 01 Dec 2008 at 6:57 am

    I read one story where the superhero just used a disposable costume that got burnt/tornup/otherwise ruined pretty much every time he went out to save the day. So his gloves didn’t “work” for a super, but they were easy enough to replace. The gloves we listed first would cost somewhere between $1 and $2 at a US supermarket, so that’s pretty replaceable.

    As for work gloves, what would you think about these? I’m not very fond of the color scheme, but the design of the gloves is not bad.

  5. Ragged Boyon 23 Sep 2010 at 11:47 am

    I was planning on my character, Finesse to wear armored gloves. Not like the ones above which are a bit too blocky for my taste. I was planning something like two metal cylinders that parallel with his fingers. When he punches he can quickly extend the cylinders creating a piston effect or extending his reach..

  6. "James Carter"on 26 Oct 2010 at 6:10 pm

    If you have a more fantasy feel you could use straps (think of a martial artist/ monk) or maybe “armor” gloves (think from a suit of metal armor)

    But here’s a question for you: Is there anything that amplifies vibrations? Or would such a superhero who has such a power either do without gloves or would they have cut offs or maybe some interesting glove with no fingertips, and no palms but the rest of the glove would be there (but the back of the hand would be covered)

    What about a character who absorbs strength from being hit with physical attacks and energy?

    Just something to consider…

  7. B. Macon 26 Oct 2010 at 11:16 pm

    “What about a character who absorbs strength from being hit with physical attacks and energy?” Maybe something lighter than usual (i.e. more like clothes than armor–because armor absorbing the impact would sort of interfere with the power, right?)

  8. Rachelon 17 Dec 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Hmm… what about using leather gloves? I’m talkin about just plain thin black leather gloves that fit snugly to your hand.

  9. B. Macon 18 Dec 2010 at 12:01 am

    What sort of mood would you be going for, Rachel?

  10. Rachelon 23 Dec 2010 at 2:24 am

    I’m trying to develop a character who has Puppeteering abilities, allowing her to control any of the living -or dead, for a slightly more dark scenario- creatures around her. When she uses this power, thin strands of I-dunno-what kind of energy (… as you may have guessed, I haven’t worked out the details of it yet…) flow from her fingertips and wrap around the intended “puppet” in order to control them. However, one of the side effects of using this power is that she has unusually pointy fingernails that faintly resemble claws, as well as that she has extremely defined veins spiderwebbing up her fingers and arms, stopping just a little bit before her elbows (they don’t cause bumps in the skin, it just appears to be odd coloring). This hangs around even when she isn’t using her powers, so naturally she would need gloves to cover them in public, lest someone call an ambulance thinking that something was seriously wrong with her. I’m playing around with the idea of gloves that she can wear /while/ using her Puppeteering powers…

  11. B. Macon 23 Dec 2010 at 1:00 pm

    That’s an interesting variation on possession/mind control…

    For gloves, the visual that I’m getting in my head is opera gloves, either white or black. However, opera gloves are really long (extending from the fingers to the elbow, which makes them very formal. Depending on the character’s personality, you might want to try something more casual like regular-length gloves combined with long-sleeved shirts, and maybe a more daring color. (In particular, I think black would be a bit cliche for a death-themed character).

  12. Rachelon 24 Dec 2010 at 12:28 am

    Opera gloves… I never would have considered that, but I like the idea. *nods* Thank you for the tips! I’m currently making some progress in developing the characters and plot, so I may comment with the plot and character ideas on another page, if that’s alright…

  13. S. Roseon 06 Feb 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Hi, I need some opinions on my superhero’s outfit. He’s genetically mutated, so he has the ability to shoot metal disks out of his spine & forearms. Obviously he’s going to need a short sleeved shirt, but the back of his shirt needs to have an opening so when he shoots the disks out of his spine, the shirt won’t rip. I’m not sure how to design the shirt…any ideas?

  14. B. Macon 06 Feb 2011 at 3:54 pm

    He could have holes built into the back of the shirt so that he has space for the spines to come out, sort of like how shoes have little holes built in for the shoelaces.

    One way to do so would be to sew the shirt himself or have someone else custom-sew it. Alternately, he could just take a standard shirt and then cut out the holes with scissors. (It wouldn’t look or feel as slick as a professional operation like the X-Men, but it’d probably work. One of my protagonists uses his claws to slice out a hole in his pants because Big & Tall Clothing doesn’t know what to do with tails).

  15. Nicholas Caseon 06 Feb 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Have you gotten your book published B.Mac?

  16. B. Macon 06 Feb 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Nah, not yet. Before I can sell the nonfiction guide, I feel I need more industry experience. Give me five years. 🙂

  17. Nicholas Caseon 07 Feb 2011 at 8:08 am

    Oh. Hey when you mean a year or two do you mean to get on the shelves or before you send it?

  18. B. Macon 07 Feb 2011 at 10:55 am

    A year or two before I submit it to publishers.

    If a publisher offers a publishing deal, then the book will come onto shelves more than a year later. The best case scenario is probably somewhere around 2013.

  19. Nicholas Caseon 07 Feb 2011 at 11:53 am

    Oh…do you think my book could be published?

  20. B. Macon 07 Feb 2011 at 2:57 pm

    I don’t think it’s publishable yet, but after you’ve finished the first draft and spend probably ~12+ months rewriting, it could be.

    Also, I’d recommend reading extensively (i.e. 50+ books) in your genre. I think that’ll give you a better eye for developing characters, writing sharper dialogue and more three-dimensional conflicts. Right now, I think those (and proofreading) are the biggest issues.

  21. Nicholas Caseon 07 Feb 2011 at 5:24 pm

    OMG I rarley EVER proofread lol! Anyways name one book with flying people shooting energy waves from their hands and blowing up entire continents and I SWEAR I’ll try and read it!

  22. B. Macon 07 Feb 2011 at 6:15 pm

    I’m guessing that your genre would probably be action, ideally action novels with superpowers or other supernatural elements. Could I recommend checking out Bitter Seeds? It’s a superhero-ish WWII novel with some really hot action scenes.

  23. Castilleon 07 Feb 2011 at 6:22 pm

    I’ve actually thought of a good way to make taser gloves plausible. The only problem I keep running into is how to charge them so they don’t run out of power. Any suggestions?

  24. B. Macon 07 Feb 2011 at 7:07 pm

    If the guy is wearing a powered suit (like Iron Man), maybe the gloves feed on its power. Alternately, perhaps the gloves have batteries built in, and the batteries have to be recharged or replaced occasionally. Or maybe the gloves are solar-powered and recharge themselves over time. A fourth possibility would be using the character’s superpowers (if he has any) as a power-source.

  25. Nicholas Caseon 07 Feb 2011 at 7:26 pm

    What if the gloves feed from the person’s life-force? That would be interesting. Also B.Mac I’m not rushing you or anything but I just wanna know. How far are you in how to describe superpowers? I mean I’m dangerously close to the fight scene so ya know…Hey I’m a kid so I’m gonna be a little impatient lol!

  26. S. Roseon 07 Feb 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Thanks B. Mac!

  27. B. Macon 07 Feb 2011 at 8:16 pm

    I don’t have anything on the subject beyond what I’ve already shown you, Nick. I’d recommend writing the scene and the worst that could happen is that I have a lot of suggestions at the end.

  28. B. Macon 07 Feb 2011 at 8:34 pm

    “What if the gloves feed from the person’s life-force.” That’s an interesting idea, Nick. The human body does produce some bioelectricity, so it might be believable to make a set of gloves powered by the body. The Matrix used a similar concept (using humans to generate power for robots).

  29. Nicholas Caseon 07 Feb 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Oh! I havent seen matrix since I was little! (I still am kinda) Also not to be mean but how could you not know how to describe them. I think it’s a very crucial fact. I can’t find anything online besides,
    “Show rather than tell”
    It’s so frustrating. I don’t want it to seem too natural since it’s the beginning. What I mean is that if I say,
    “Haden fired a black Negative Neron Bomb which engulfed the entire coast in a deathly darkness”
    It wouldn’t make sense. You’d think with all this criticism you’d tell us how to describe superpowers. Don’t get me wrong I’m not mad but it’s a tad frustrating. I’m not venting but I’m trying to prove a point. I’m just going to need some time… 😀

  30. Nicholas Caseon 07 Feb 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Um B.Mac…how do you bolden text XD ?

  31. B. Macon 07 Feb 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Use greater-than and less-than signs instead of brackets. (On a standard QWERTY keyboard, the less-than sign is shift+comma and the greater-than sign is shift+period). The commands include b, i and del.

    “Also not to be mean but how could you not know how to describe them… I can’t find anything online besides ‘Show rather than tell.'” If it were easy to write it, I think there would be more material online. I feel that the obstacles to superhero action novels are actually rather high.

    First, there are are exceedingly few examples of strong action scenes in superhero novels. Bitter Seeds (even though it’s probably urban fantasy) and Wild Cards are a start, but usually I have more examples ready when I start on an article.

    I think superhero novels generally go light on action for two main reasons. 1) Movies and comic books do it so much better. 2) The core audience for superhero action is not well-represented among novel-readers.

  32. Nicholas Caseon 08 Feb 2011 at 5:16 am

    Bolded Text
    Is it working?

  33. Nicholas Caseon 08 Feb 2011 at 5:16 am

    Yay! It worked! Thnx!

  34. Tempoon 21 May 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I saw your opinion on fingerless gloves, and I tend to agree. However, they might be useful for a character that does a lot of parkour-style maneuvering as they offer hand protection without losing any grip. Suggestions?

  35. Crystalon 23 May 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Yeah…I’m wondering that too.
    I had planned on Rebecca wearing fingerless gloves as part of her costume (she needs at least part of her hand bare for the healing to work), but, if that won’t work, then I’ll probably work with #1.

  36. B. Macon 23 May 2011 at 5:29 pm

    In Tempo’s case, I think fingerless gloves probably make sense as a balance of protection and grip. Crystal, in your case, one alternative would be having the healer go without any gloves. Does she need much protection on her hands? (Is she doing anything like parkour or playing around with reptiles with fireballs on their tails? Alternately, perhaps her power works even when she has gloves on?)

  37. SilverWolfon 30 Dec 2011 at 2:55 am

    Hi guys, I have a dilemma.

    One of my characters, Ben, can climb walls and stick to things.
    But unlike Spiderman he can’t do it through cloths (how does Spidey do that any way?) he needs direct skin contact to stick. He needs to wear gloves, shoes and long pants, but if he does his powers are useless!
    Aahhh! I need help please!

  38. B. McKenzieon 30 Dec 2011 at 3:19 am

    A few possibilities come to mind:

    1) He ditches the gloves or wears fingerless gloves. (Also, I’d recommend boots that are good for climbing).

    2) You modify his powers so that they work through clothes.

    3) You rework his powers so that it makes sense that they would work with clothes on. For example, if the gloves are specially designed to work with his adhesive ability or are the source of his climbing ability, it would make sense that he could climb with them on.

    4) He opts to wear gloves even though they limit his superpower. I’m constantly bagging on people for not giving their characters unusual choices, right? If your character is so devoted to the idea of wearing gloves (for whatever reason–maybe he’s really into the style or gets cold very easily) that he’d willingly give up a superpower, that’d go a long way to characterizing him. One conceivably cunning reason is that he’s trying to make his secret identity stronger by concealing all of his skin (e.g. hiding his race). Why give supervillains and police the ability to instantly weed out 37%+ of the U.S. population as suspects (and 80%+ if he’s not Caucasian)? Depending on how much the secret identity matters to him, that might be an okay reason to take a handicap on a pretty minor superpower.

    5) He wears gloves most of the time but takes them off for climbing work. I’d imagine he doesn’t do all that much climbing and gloves can be taken off pretty easily, so it doesn’t sound all that inconvenient. (That said, in the heat of the moment, a delay of a few seconds might be a liability).

    PS: Why does he need to wear gloves?

  39. SilverWolfon 31 Dec 2011 at 11:38 pm

    the first time ben really uses his powers for (somthing other than mucking around) he needs to breake into a goverment funded lab and he doesnt want his finger prints all over the place (dont worry he is only taking back what they stole from his friend). But after Ben and his friends get out of there, i gess he dosent need to wear gloves.

    you gave me an idea, ben tries to retreave the item with full gloves on, but it is to inconviniant. so when they have escaped he desides not to wear gloves.

    i have another problem. it is that the item that they steal, is a hoverboard and later on ben uses it to get around Brayar (the city he lives in) quickly. but to stay on the board, ben needs to use his “sticky powers” to stay on the board. thats why i have probmlems with the footwear.

  40. SilverWolfon 31 Dec 2011 at 11:40 pm

    OMG. Sorry about spelling and grammar in that last one, I forgot to run it through word first. *shame*

  41. SilverWolfon 01 Jan 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Um… B.Mac, do you have any ideas?

  42. B. McKenzieon 01 Jan 2012 at 11:04 pm

    “To stay on the board, Ben needs to use his “sticky powers” to stay on the board.” I’d recommend just using foot straps (like a snowboard would use) or, if you’re going for a more sci-fi feel, maybe a lot of suction.

    One potential issue with using his stickiness as the way he stays on is that it may feel bizarre if the government is developing something only a thief can use. Alternately, depending on the plotting, you could have government scientists create a similarly sticky effect with boots designed for a hoverboard user. (While he’s in for the hoverboard, he can take the boots as well).

  43. SilverWolfon 02 Jan 2012 at 5:42 pm


  44. mirocon 29 Jan 2012 at 12:38 am

    any ideas for this i am writing this one up and need some ideas on gear, the hero in question is not a super per say but cant feel pain due to a severe spinal injury from a ied explosion and no longer worries about being injured his only issue is severe injuries and even then only to extreme vital areas, need great mobility aswell.

  45. N Kraston 21 Mar 2012 at 8:22 am

    Sounds similar to the movie ‘kicka$$’ or the main character for the game Stalker. For various reasons these people are either non-responsive to pain, or their pain sense is very subdued. These characters are interesting in a more realistic sort of way, partially because this ‘super power’ is an actual medical condition. You should be able to draw inspiration from a lot of sources, so thats good.
    You mentioned an IED? Where did he get attacked? Was he a soldier in Iraq/Afghan? Or an innocent bystander during something like the Oklahoma City bombing?

    For gear I would say military-esque gloves and boots (Not feeling pain means you might get careless and damage yourself more than your enemies). Balistic-lining for a trench coat, or even knee-and-elbow pads could work.

  46. Birdyon 01 Aug 2012 at 12:31 am

    One of mine wears #8. She’s kind of a traditional Black Canary, Black Widow type.

    The other, I’m thinking of giving driving gloves. Something like this ( perhaps. Her character doesn’t involve cars (she has wings, and her civilian style is inspired by Amelia Earhart) but I feel like they would be gloves she already owned. Not sure. I want something to protect her knuckles at least. Actual pilot gloves, I think, look bulky.

  47. WeirdRaptor28on 29 Aug 2013 at 1:49 am

    I think #7 is best for my character. He’s not human and is athletic.

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