Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Office Strikes Back -WIP 4-28-10

This week, instead of just another progress shot of the whole poster, I thought I'd take snapshots of my progress as I completed Creed. It's always interesting for me to look back and see hoe things evolve and take shape, so I thought it might be interesting for others to see as well.

My favorite part of the process is once a character is pretty much done and it just needs some fiddling and tweaks here and there to perfect the likeness or make the values pop. I enjoy meticulously combing over the drawing and making brush strokes that are mostly imperceptible. My least favorite part, by far, is starting a new person's portrait. Every time, even though I've finished five of them now, there's a moment of terror where I'm sure I won't be able to do it again. It's intimidating starting again from scratch with a blank shape that needs to be molded into a realistic depiction. I'm trying to remedy this by forcing myself to work faster and more boldly as to not allow too much doubt to creep in. Better to just slap some paint down in broad strokes and keep up the pace then being nervous and allowing myself to procrastinate.

It's worked pretty well thus far, Creed came together rather quickly. I may make another pass over him tomorrow with fresh eyes, but I'm fairly content with how he looks now.

So the first frame is the quick, rough pass just to get an idea of placement of features and general idea of the broad values. The next is where details start to take shape. It's important to get the facial features honed in accurately early on or it'll be a pain to fix later, and even though I tried to consider this, I still had some issues and things needed to be slid around or squished and stretched a bit, as you can see in the jump to the third and to the fourth frame. At the third frame, this is the point where I start to relax and am confident things will turn out okay. And the last frames are mostly just sweetening, by sharpening details and increasing contrast in places and what not. I didn't capture any progress on the suit, unfortunately, as I did it rather quickly one evening and didn't think to pause and snap a pic.

So one more down. Even if this might not be interesting to most people, I think I'll be grateful that I have this graphic, regarding my fear of starting new people, to easily remind me how rudimentary these all once began and what they can become.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Office Strikes Back -WIP 4-20-10

Bit of a gap between progress pictures, as I hadn't really conceived of this blog until earlier this month. My intentions now, though, are to post at least weekly updates on my current projects. Michael's done, Kelly's done, Toby was just finished last night. Also, for the first time I saved a picture with the color layers visible. I paint in greyscale and add the color afterwards in separate layers, I don't know if that technique is frowned upon and seen as a crutch, but I'm still getting used to painting directly with colors and I'm more comfortable for the time being with this method. The colors aren't final, there's a lot about them I don't like, but I like being able to check the colors as I work to make sure the values I've laid down are working.

Here's another shot of the sketch layer hidden and the black background in place. You can see the Creed placeholder in between Toby and Kevin, I'm starting on him tonight.

Unfortunately, while it was a good thing, being away from the drawing for so long also meant I didn't fall back into the exact same groove, style wise. And now Kevin and Andy look a bit different than everyone else and they'll need another pass to tighten up their looks to match my currently desired level of detail.

Since coming back to "The Office Strikes Back" last month, I thought about starting up this blog and I also decided that my goal would be to finish this poster up in time for the art show and auction at the San Diego Comic-Con in July. I'm still excited and self-motivated to work on the poster, but having a deadline looming will certainly help keep my nose to the grindstone.

The Office Strikes Back -WIP 4-03-10

Over the course of the next week, I scoured for some more perfect screengrabs. At first, I was afraid adding too many characters would over-complicate and muddy up the composition, but I threw that idea out the window and decided to include as many people as possible. After the addition of each new character, the more interesting the picture got, and the more excited I got. It was starting to feel like a real poster.

Sorry Oscar, Phyllis, and Meredith. Also sorry Jan and Darryl. And Erin. There were some tough cuts made, but this group seemed like the quintessential crew from the best era of the show. At this point, I think Michael was 90% done and I was just starting on Kelly.

The Office Strikes Back -WIP 3-28-10

All righty, the first featured painting! I started this over a year ago and finally decided to go back and finish it. One night in November of '08, I think I might've seen the Empire Strikes Back poster in some shape or form and thought replacing Han and Leia with Jim and Pam from The Office and having Dwight looming in the background in place of Darth Vader seemed like a funny idea. So I started gathering screencaps I liked and sketching out the composition. I worked on it for about a week, finished Andy and Kevin and started Michael and then, as I do with a lot of my projects, thought that I was an idiot for ever thinking this was funny and it'd probably be best to have my hands chopped off to spare the small group of people who might see this or any other moronic scribblings the awkward feelings of embarrassment and pity. I have to work fast or this is what typically happens to projects, so larger, more complex drawings like this are always scary.

But on March 28, 2010, after not touching the file for nearly a year and a half, I got a notion to do some more work in Corel Painter and thought it'd be good to go back and finish this one up. This was the progress and layout as of that date.

It's often a very good thing to step back from your work for sometime, looking at it again with fresh eyes and different mindset the flaws will jump out. Upon loading up the image, all I could think of was how boring it seemed. The Office has a great ensemble and all I put on there was five measly characters? That wouldn't do. I was enthusiastic to rejigger the composition and was excited about the project as a whole again. It's good to step away and come back, it was funny again.

Hello, this is my blog

This blog will be part portfolio, part behind the scenes look at the ring-a-ding life of a freelance graphic designer and wannabe illustrator, and part virtual taskmaster to keep me motivated and working. I may get into the full intentions of starting up a blog later, when it might be worthwhile and reach more eyeballs, but for now I just want to get it up and running and get some pictures in it.