Saturday, June 20, 2009

Firstborn half done

I'm done with the spacescape and the dome. Today I did the face and some of the holograms. I couldn't figure out why the holograms looked so wrong, but I found an illustration in a children's book by one of our teachers that showed me that holograms glow on the outer edge, not the center. A center glow makes neon lights! haha, no wonder it looked weird. I really picked a challenging composition with this one. How to get references for all this wild reflected holographic light? Right now the composition looks jumbled. I will have to let quite a bit of it completely dry before I can add the smaller action elements like fighter ships and projections on the holograph screens. Tomorrow is our last day to paint here in Amherst. We have had two or three lectures everyday and atleast one demonstration to watch each day too. We are painting until 3 or 4 am each night to get our stuff done for the group show on sunday. There's no way I can finish it in time, but I have plenty of company, so there is no rush.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lighting Demo Illustration Masterclass

Here are a couple of the teachers demonstrating their typical setups for lighting for reference model shoots. These lights and power packs are a mere $1,500. There are strobe lights, power packs, reflective light umbrellas and stands, remote signal sender thingy for the $2,000 camera and $1200 lense. I'm using a $120 canon smart shooter and no flash. lol

Firstborn underpainting

Here is the nearly finished underpainting in acrylics. The camera just can't compensate for the florescent lights in the room: the real colors are neon bright green for the hologram ring, dark black navy blue for the starry sky in the dome and bright deep red pink for the asteroid belt and neon aqua blue for the screen projections. But, you get the idea. Tomorrow I will finish the underpainting then start in on the oils. This puppy will most assuredly not be done by the time the last class is over on sunday.

Real Armor

This is the Art Editor for Tor Books, Irene Gallo, trying on a set of armor that Lawrence Allen Williams brought. She is the business teacher at IMC. She makes a great model for Joan of Arc....hmmm...great painting idea!

Pencil final of Firstborn

At the teacher critique, I was told to change the pose of the model. In the story, the lead character, Dennison, is unsure of himself and has low self esteem because he is a constant failure at the space battle hologram that he is in charge of. I figured Dennison would be portrayed best by being static in motion and have the tension come from the hologram itself. The teachers said that even though that idea is more true to the story, it makes for a better picture artistically to make the pose more dynamic. So, here is the redrawn pose. Its much better, isn't it? Teachers are right again! I had a great pose that they liked from a photo shoot I had done with Jack before I left. The only problem was, it was too out of focus to get a good painting with, so I had to ask three separate students to pose for me as I reshot the reference photos of their hands and faces to get the details right. Since I don't have a printer with me, I had to use the computer screen on my laptop as a reference of the photos. Ah, the benefits of technology!

The Legendary Michael Whelan

Holy Cow, We got to watch a demo and presentation by a living national treasure: Michael Whelan. I've been a fan of his work since the mid 1970s. If you have read a book by Isaac Azimov, C. J. Cherryh or any Anne McCaffry, you have seen a cover done by him. He is a quiet and reserved man, and generously shared his methods with us. We even got to paw through a pile of his art prints to take home. I got four signed!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Value Sketch for Illustration Masterclass

Here is my small value sketch for an assignment for the upcoming Illustration MasterClass in Amherst Mass. this week. The book is called Firstborn by Brandon Saunderson. (It is about to be published, this is just a class assignment). The subject is a young man who has been raised to be a spaceship battle strategist for a sci fi galaxy federation. He manipulates a 3-D holographic projection of battleships like in StarWars. He is dedicated, unsure of himself and fails at every simulation he engages in. Ultimately, he ends up saving the galaxy from his much older and impervious evil brother who commands the entire starfleet and attempts a military coup.

Our first day of class will be spent listening to the instructors tear our sketches apart. The second day is redo time with possibly new photo model shoots and starting from scratch. A very good learning experience! I will post the progress so you can follow along. Wish me luck!