Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Happy Birthday Sidrah

Here's a commission I recently completed. The brief was simple, a 21st Birthday; Sidrah (the birthday girl) hugging Sulley.

Interestingly (or not) in my old life as a toy designer, I drew Sulley from Monsters Inc. a hell of a lot - I even sculpted him to be made into a pen. So I was very familiar with the character already.

Here's my sculpt, for that pen. This is one of a small number of casts that I still own out of numerous characters I sculpted during my 12 odd years.

Again, interestingly, or not, as the case may be, sculpting the character to look right with all that fur and so that it would come out of an injection mold tool was, in places, a bit tricky...

Here's the pen, as was available with Smarties as I recall.

As was often the case, the sculpting I had done, for some reason got over worked in the production piece, leaving the finished article looking less like the character than the sculpt that I had struggled to get approved by Disney/Pixar's licensing department.

Looking back at this, I'm surprised by how naff it really is. That was the nature of the beast though, cheap give-aways, by their very definition are a bit naff.

Let's not delve too deeply into my murky past as a toy designer now though. Let us instead focus on, as has becoming increasingly the case with my posts, the process stuff (for this commission).

The sketch work, which I will admit got jiggered about with in photoshop once I scanned it. In fact I totally reworked the likeness. Also adding a sketch-up model of a suitable door that I bunged together very quickly... I still like the flexibility that a sketch-up model gives, should I need to reposition the camera for a different view, I don't have to work out the perspective again... some might think it overkill or even cheating, but, I'll never have to draw a door again and worry that the perspective is wrong.

As an aside, I find that when I do build the environment (such as it is in this case) I'm far more confident when it comes time to putting the characters 'in situ' because I can move things around. If it doesn't look right, I can just move the camera angle or pan or whatever in sketch-up and export the image again.

On this commission, the trickiest part was Sidrah's likeness. So I wanted to ink it first to check that everyone was happy. I wouldn't usually do it in this way, but inking the tough bit first meant that I wasn't risking so much if I got it wrong... I was fairly confident that the Sulley would look good because I've drawn him so much before. All the same, I'm pretty pleased with my inking on this piece as it happens...

...and here are the final inks as they looked when scanned and then with all the blue-line removed ready for colouring. Sometimes I think that the blue pencils add a bit of depth to the inks and when I take that away the inks just look too clean to me until I get some colour and texture worked into the image.

Overall, I think it's a pretty successful piece. Having spent time on modelling the door, ultimately I was unsure how I felt about it - compositionally I thought it complicated things, but I liked the implied narrative... I ended up with a number of alternate versions, my favourite (in the end, despite the sketch-up time) was without the door. The green door was Sidrah's preferred option though and was the one I printed and sent out with the inks and sketch work.

All that remains is to say happy birthday to Sidrah for today and thank her big sister Sadiah for a fun commission.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

In The Beginning

The Themed Art Blog are having a Harry Potter week. I'd been needing something to get me loosened up and relaxed. So here, are Hagrid and Harry, from the beginning of The Philosopher's Stone.

I didn't refer to the book, but I know Hagrid delivers Harry to the Dursley's house on his motorbike, and I've a sneaky suspicion that Harry is in a basket or something...

...but I've been (unsurprisingly) paternal recently, and couldn't help going all whimsical with a caring cradling pose.