Friday, May 1, 2015

Nostalgia/Fascination

These illustrations were for a recent group show I did at The Comic Book Hideout in Down Town Fullerton.  The show was themed around the works of Marvel, primarily those pertaining to the recent films, and the Inifinity Stones. 
For these works I chose 'Guardians of the Galaxy' as my inspiration.  The film was great, and straddled a fine line between being futuristic but also reminiscent of the past.  Since the film itself was propelled not only by story, but also the music, I wanted to capture the spirit as much as possible.  The idea I had early on was pretty simple, and carried all the way through to the finished product (which for me is rare but I had a clear idea with this one).  I wanted to create 'posters' similar to the iTunes series with the silhouettes wearing headphone, and dancing with their iPods in hand.  For my composition though I utilized Star Lord's walkman instead of an iPod or iPhone, and wanted to include a few things that pertained to both characters in their pieces. 
For Starlord ('Nostalgia'), originally I wanted to have him flipping the bird, but scrapped that and instead painstakingly recreated his elemental gun in his opposing hand.  In order to fill in the empty space to the right, I did some research to see if Star Lord had an insignia or symbol that I could include (much like the Apple Logo on their iTunes cards or products).  I found a few different symbols, and then referenced the movie for authenticity.   I decided that since Star Lord was from an earlier era (one that he arguably never grew out of), I wanted to distress his poster, and used the color scheme from the soundtrack that was released to tie it all together. 
For Gamora ('Fascination'), I had a more difficult time including elements that would identify her character to an onlooker.  I decided that, being an alien (or non-human), and having really no home of her own, I would make her background celestial (which is retro-ish as well I suppose).  I had the walkman attached to her belt instead of holding it, and placed her signature sword in one hand, while the other presses the earphone towards her ear.  For the empty space on Gamora's poster, I couldn't find anything that really worked well to fill it, and being unfamiliar with her character outside of the film made the task even more difficult.  I ultimately decided on doing a graphic depiction of the Orb of Power that she was seeking in the film, and in order to link the pieces together, utilized the same bands from the Star Lord piece on Gamora's, and unified it's color scheme but using the same color as the Orb.  I originally intended on making Gamora's silhouette a gradient of green, but it just didn't look right.  I also was going to distress her poster, but it didn't seem to work as well on her piece as Star Lord's.  The other reason I discarded the idea was because, seeing as she's from space, it really didn't make sense to use that same strategy (as her personality is also different from that of Star Lord's).
Both works are entirely digital, done in Painter with some adjustments made in Photoshop and Illustrator.


Geas

This particular piece was one I did for the Rankin-Bass Group Show at Creature Features in Burbank California.  The show was themed around the works of the legendary Claymation/Animation producers Arthur Rankin Jr., and Julie Bass who's huge library of work was to be represented in the group show "The Enchanted World of Rankin-Bass".  The show took place in December of 2014, and ran until January 2015.
For my contribution to the show I selected on of their adaptation of Peter S. Beagle's "The Last Unicorn" (of which Beagle was heavily involved).  In my piece, my intention was to capture the essence of the story, and also depict a color gradient by transitioning from one sequence of events in the story to the next in succession.   I had always wanted to do a piece depicting the story, having seen it as a child, it had left a lasting impression on me with it's handling of mortality, sacrifice, and identity.  Originally I was intending on only depicting Almathea (the lead protagonist), in both forms, and make the piece reversible.  I still kept the concept, but instead filled it with the events from the film, kept the outline, incorporated the color transition, and also the ability for it to be displayed in two different ways. 
I've often been asked about the title of this particular piece.  It took me a while to come up with it, as is the usual for me.  I always like to give my piece interesting titles, that may have either multiple meanings, a play on words, or carrying some kind of significance pertaining to the work, or it's subject matter.  The term 'Geas' is one I lifted from my experience in youth playing Dungeons & Dragons.  In the campaign setting there are spells for varying character classes.  The spell of 'Geas' (from the Irish word Geis), or 'Quest' (as I believe it's called now), was a higher level ability of Clerics or Priests.  The spell itself was a type of curse for lack of a better term, in which the victim was compelled to perform some kind of task, quest, or command, which was to be completed by a specific deadline.  If the 'Geased' recipient did not fulfill the terms within the time frame, they would die. 
In the story of 'The Last Unicorn', Almathea (a unicorn), discovers she is the last of her kind, and sets off from the safety of her forest home to unravel the mysterious disappearance of her kin.  Along her travels Almathea meets a variety of characters, most of which she appears to as a normal mare, and only those gifted with magic can see her horn.  Early on she meets Schemdrick, a Novice Magician who accompanies her on the quest, and in an attempt to protect her, accidentally transforms her into a human.  Schemdrick's attempts to undo his spell are unsuccessful, and eventually concedes that, when Almathea has accomplished the task she needs to, the spell will lift on it's on.
The piece is entirely digital, done in Painter with some additional manipulation done in Photoshop.