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)!