18 January 2021

In production: A Vine on a House

 Opening shot completed. It's good the characters are too small to really see clearly as I fully animated them and found some issues that would have been more serious in a close up. I finished the second shot and went OK. I don't think anthropomorphic animals would like they did in "Cask of Amontillado" but I prefer animated those sorts of characters it turns out. This should be very short, maybe only 3 minutes as there is no dialog and not much story. 

11 January 2021

Poster: The Wolfman

 

Click image for larger version.

This was the one that started it all and almost anded it all. I tried several times to do a Wolfman illustration/poster over the years and never came close to getting anything close to what I envisioned. This is pretty far from what I going for back then, but I have been fairly successful or at least having enough fun with making monster poster more recently and gave Lawrence Talbot another go. 

I made a pretty detailed sketch based on quite a few reference images. I wasn't sure how much I wanted to show his shirt details and decided to try a style in-between the giant monsters and the classic horror monster posters. So mostly black and white wth hints of colour and still used the charcoal brushes in Krita  for the character. I used some brushes in Affinity photo and modified a 3 moon image I made a long while back which I painted over. The logo is from the opening credits of the film and remade in Affinity Designer. 

Despite the references I have myself  much more liberty to use my own imagination in the pose, details and lighting than in previous projects. Sadly the TONS of detailed I put into the fur on the head is now hidden in shadow but it looks better this way in my opinion. 

This one has a true "move poster" vibe to it. 


09 January 2021

Poster: Frankenstein 1931


 
A real challenge, this one. The references were taken from the scene where the creation sees light for the first time. The camera is on his head then pans done to the twisted hands trying to catch the light. Title was done in Affinity Designer ands the rest in Krita. 

I think I only got a kind of-looks-llike-him version of Karloff. It a strange angle and the hands were a nightmare that I reworked and reworked a bunch of times.





08 January 2021

2020 is finally over and 2021 has begun!



Last year was terrible, let's not mince words about that but there were some high points as well. It seems free software really came into it's own with Blender 3D, Krita and others starting to take more space in my workflows. Others like Opentoons, might soon be part of my work as well as I think about 2D animated projects for future. 

My films "The Raven" and "Cask of Amontillado" were shown in festivals and some interest is being shown in once of my older documentaries for a history project in Boston - that could be big news for me and is a really nice pat on the shoulder. 

Work was scarce and a few new projects got cancelled but I have been expanding my drawing skills and looking forward to continuing that and a couple of my regular clients are still there, less is going on but they were not knocked out of existence so I can be thankful for that. 

What will 2021 hold? I hope to get enough work to somehow justify updating my computer to something faster for 3D and be able to have a few less restrictions on what I can accomplish. There were delays with Affinity product updates, but they are chugging along and I hope the iPad version of Publisher will come out the start of this year since it never got released in 2020. They have some interesting updates coming up with the betas well underway that should make Publisher better competition of Indesign and should fill in a couple gaps in functionality it still is missing for me. I have a new animated project started, going slowly but it's at least moving along. 

I have been thinking of selling art on Etsy or someplace and maybe starting a Patreon to help pay the bills. I have zero social media skills or networking so that might be fool's errand but it might be worth a try. If anyone knows anything about that stuff, comment and tell me about your experience! 

I have been happy to see some of my friends getting involved in art again and trying new things as they are stuck at home for months on end.  Exploring creativity is always a plus and can really carry one through the dark times. My friend Mike Luce is forging ahead with his art and that always inspires and keeps me on my toes. I am looking forward to maybe getting out of my neighbourhood and going somewhere for a photo vacation. Vacation seems like a dirty word but I hope by summer it's a possibility or maybe fall. I haven't seen my family or many of my friends in well over a year now - something many people are coping with for sure. 

So here's to a brighter year than the last, more creativity and mobility and the hope that everyone has learned the importance of creativity, what's important and how important it will be to work together to make things better. 

06 January 2021

Poster: Gamera


Yes Gamera, the giant flying turtle and friend of all children. My mom's favourite giant monster so I had to do it. 

I used my "giant monster style" I didn't know I had. Simple background, silhouette with white ink lines to add details with hints of colour. I really like drawing white on black. I used to do scratch boards in secondary school and every now and then and I just like the look of it. 

03 January 2021

Poster: King Kong



 I love the original King Kong, it was my Aunt Helen's favourite movie. She saw it many times when it was released. The looks of the creatures and the jungle scenes are just amazing and Kong is one of the few effects that really reads as a real character even today. 

This went through something like 30 iterations before I stopped changing things. Should Fay Ray be on the top of the Empire State? Should I draw the planes coming for Kong? At first it was to be just a long shot of the Empire State with kong seen tiny at the top and the planes arriving.  Finally after going though the film a few times I saw some interesting shots I had not seen used before and decided a mostly silhouetted Kong hanging off the building inspired by the screenshots and Willis O'Brian's preproduction drawings with an art deco design inspired by the opening credits might be best. 

The logo was interesting. It looks normal enough watching the film but if you start to recreate it it's sort of Escher-like in its construction. The letters looked carved but actually could never exist in the real world. I drew a simplified version of the tower and kept Kong mostly black with white highlights and some subtle dark greys to fill in details around his face. I looked at how the stop motion puppet was constructed to draw the feet and hands. 

There were a bunch of RKO logos in the 30s and I picked one that looked the most interesting with the other deco details. I added grain to the background elements so it would have that airbrushed from the period but excluded Kong and the titles so they would be super clear and stand out more. All things considered I am happy with this as it looks like what I was going for and combined my drawing and design skills in equal measure. I think so, anyway. I struggled with where to to put the title as it was on the bottom and small for most of the process and I did not want to cover his upper hand but it fits more on the top and larger and gives it more a feel of a poster from the time the film was released. 

A good start for 2021!

29 December 2020

Poster: Creature of the Black Lagoon

  


Click images to see larger versions.

Still not sure how successful this is but it is a much more fully realized illustration I think. It has background and foreground elements and isn't as graphic design oriented as my giant monster  or sci-fo posters. Again done in Krita and charcoal brushes and too about 25 hours of drawing time. There are many details hard to see unless you are close up to it, like the texture on the creature's skin. I used  the blending stump brush like I did with real charcoal sticks on paper. I drew the underwater weeds over and over again, simpler versions just didn't look right. The sketch was a good guide even though I changed some details like how the swimmers foot was postitioned. For something like this I make a detailed sketch so I can make a grey silhouette and then add shadows, highlights and details and the drawing seems to push itself out of the canvas as I draw. The bubbles etc were just freehand with no plan. I just kept at them until it looks OK to me.  

I looked through the film for references and used bits and pieces as inspiration but I have found the clearest references were photos people took of models made of the monster. The film is burry and grainy and the details are often obscured, especially with the pose I was looking to use. I wish I had unlimited funds to buy some of these toys so I could play with more poses myself.