Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pulp Art Challenge from the Art Order

Another piece I've got cookin' came about from a recent challenge from The Art Order. The ArtOrder "is a blog for and about the fantasy and sci-fi illustration community that is committed to mentoring, artistic improvement, and career enhancement". I find the blog really informative and interesting, especially this recent article on defining the vocabulary and framework for classifying and talking about fantastic art, found here.

The Art Order often gives challenges to help keep artists inspired and working, and there is often guest judging and critique from current illustrators and art directors; it's just a nice atmosphere for sharing the type of work we fantastic illustrators enjoy. The challenge I will be participating in is in celebration of old Pulp Magazines, and is actually an open call to artists outside of the 'order's challenge, and will be part of a Pulp Art Tribute show for this summer put on by Gallery Provocateur owner Veronika Kotlajic.

These are actual pulp covers that I've been using as inspiration for my own design.

It's about action. Suspense. Dames. Standoffs. Men with chiseled jaws and slicked back hair! You get the picture. What I've decided is to do something with a little twist, a detective scene where the hero thinks he's saving the girl, but she's really been on the bad side the whole time and now is the opportunity to turn and reveal to him he's been foiled. Here are some of my initial sketches.

He's pushing her out of harm's way, she pulls a gun on him.

He realizes - tonk!- Crap. There's a gun pointed to my head. And see, the other bad guy shadows are relaxing with their guns a little bit, and are laughing because they've been in on it the whole time, waiting for the moment when our dame would spill the beans.

And this one: maybe he's running away, thinks he found a quiet room to escape to, but lookey here, who's been waiting for his arrival. As you can see, most of them are fairly similar, and I do really like the situation and much of the composition ideas for it, but I think I could explore it a little more if I give myself some time. And who knows, once I take reference photos it might help to expand upon those ideas further.

Face studies based on what I'm going for. I referenced popular pulp hero Doc Savage and classic pin up illustrations to get the right 1930s to 1940s look for my characters. Now, I don't want them to be caricatures in the finish because it's not really the look I'm going for, but it helps to exaggerate the idea now, because I will want to exaggerate things slightly to really accentuate the feelings of the characters and the style of the genre.

Headed in the right direction, just need a day or two to sit on the idea before we progress. The Art Order's deadline is in a couple weeks, even if the actual deadline for submissions to the open call aren't until April. That's because the Art Order is allowing time for adjustments to be made for anyone that receives a critique they actually want to follow up on in time for the Pulp Magazine Tribute Show. I'll keep you posted on this progress and Lancelot and Guinevere's (the research for which has been going swimmingly)!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What's Next?

I finally have settled into my new job, new apartment, new locale, and... I've got internet! Let the games begin!

What's next you ask? What's next in the world of illustration? Well, I'll tell you... Lancelot and Guinevere! That's what next! I haven't done an honest to goodness portrait piece in a while, and it's long overdue. I'll be sticking with my love of fantasy, but focusing on the relationships within those worlds, rather than the bizzare and fantastic nature of the worlds themselves (don't get me wrong. Horse-men were a blast to paint!). I figure this makes a more interesting piece in the end anyway.

I was recently inspired greatly by Donato Giancola's recent painting video he released, which is only about $50 from his website. It has been a huge inspiration starter, and it's just a great video to watch from start to finish, to have in the background, and to just keep in the back of your mind when you're trying to do your best work. I've watched it three times already, and I'm still excited to watch it again. You get to watch a master of our time- in the moment- paint. It's just incredibly watchable, informative, and inspiring. What I'm getting at is that he said a couple things that really stuck with me. First: That his fantasy paintings have become more about the research and history involved to make them believable (researching reality to create fantasy) and that his sci-fi paintings have become more about the people that inhabit them rather than the worlds themselves. Second: Painting is like a sport: you can prepare for the big game, but in the end it will depend on the other team, the weather, all sorts of factors you can't prepare for. What you've learned in school gives you the roadmap for how to play the game, but each game is different, and there's no rule book for that exact one. He says it more eloquently, but I just loved it. It is a game, and that's why I keep coming back.

I have several thumbnails started for Lancelot and Guinevere. Although there are several different versions of these characters historically, I'm going to try to portray a very 1953 "Knights of the Round Table" version of the pair (it's a wonderful movie with some big name Old Hollywood stars). Lancelot and Guinevere will be inherently good, torn by their love for each other and their devotion for their King. It will be a moment where they are struggling together and internally with this issue. Basically, they're gonna kiss but they shouldn't! That's the moment. The point of no return. Que Phantom of the Opera. So we're looking for a moment jam packed with tension. Interested? Well, look forward to when I post the progress. I even broke out the old dance costumes and my mom's old bridesmaid dresses for the reference photos for this. Oh yeah. It just got serious.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Spectrum Submissions

Well, here I am apologizing for another delay in blog posts. But I have a very good excuse: I don't have the internet! Soon, very soon. It's just been awhile getting all of my things in order with a new job, new apartment, new bank... in short, it's been Crazytown over here.

I was able to get out my submissions to Spectrum. Unfortunately, the printing gods were not smiling on me for about a week, thus, the final things I sent to Spectrum were not quite the color quality I'd hoped for. But as my friend Kyle says, you gotta be in it to win it! I'm not confident based on what was printed with the time and resources I had left, but we'll see. Anyways, here's what I sent (in the saturation and quality I had hoped to send them in!)