Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Make your own Usain Bolt!

So here's another illo for this week's Nuts, I should probably point out at this stage there a few magazines on the stands at the moment sporting my artwork, so if you've seen one of my illos in one of these mags and wonder why there's nothing posted, suffice to say i'll get around to them all (well the best ones) in good time.

Anyway back to this Nuts illo, I got the email pretty early on Monday to see whether I fancied drawing "The World's Fastest Man" Mr Usain Bolt for a feature in the mag, now at the time I was still awaiting feedback on a set of drawings i'd sent to another client, and to be fair I didn't know what the outcome on that job was going to be, so I was left with a dilemma; do I take the job and hope I can squeeze it in, or do I pass on it.

These decisions generally speaking need to be made quickly, certainly did in this case; things that swayed me was I loved the idea of drawing Bolt in kit form, secondly Barney who commissioned me on this had mocked up the exact kind of thing he wanted... I just had to draw it!

So as you can see from the above I took on this job, starting from the Monday lunchtime I had until Wednesday to complete the illo, not only that but also provide the illustrated type/headline.

The original plan was to start the drawing on the Tuesday, as it happens though the other client I was working with weren't in any hurry to get back to me, so rather than twiddle my thumbs I worked up a rough and sent to Barney in the afternoon.

I was maybe expecting an email back saying "Wow, that was quick.. that looks great colour it" the actual email went more like this "Wow, that was quick.. but it's kind of wrong" in order to save time instead of making each piece of Usain very much 'kit like' with a plastic front and separate plastic back, what I actually did is make each arm and leg more fully-formed and rounded, more like a deconstructed action figure.... Barney was right, this didn't look correct.

Back to the drawing board, next morning (Tuesday) I redrew the image with fronts and backs very much as above and sent for approval, it got the thumbs up and I coloured in for that afternoon, and sent away... right just the type to go... at about 4:30 I got an email asking whether I could change the keyline it was a bit too thick, now I draw my final work in Photoshop, not Illustrator so I had to go back through and redraw all the black linework... again Barney was right, it became a much tidier drawing with a smaller keyline.

Wednesday, just the type to do.... I'm going to say it now, I try and steer clear of typographic stuff, it's simply something i'm not confident with, I kind of have a working knowledge, which has certainly got better over the years, but I try and avoid where possible, this one was relatively easy though, Barney supplied the headline as a .ai file, I was asked to create a plastic frame and a Jamaican flag paint job.. even though this was one of the easier type things i've done, it still didn't stop it from having it's tricky moments, like I say it's not one of my strong suits, unfortunately I seem to get more and more along these lines.

Final artwork and type was with Nuts for Wednesday, having seen the artwork in print I think it looks great, it has a nice clean look about it, and in this case I can see why I was brought on board to do the type as it brings the design together (I'm just glad I didn't ruin it!) this is one of those images that I can only take partial credit for, certainly this is 50% Barney's illustration too, he laid out what he wanted, how he wanted it... so the success of this image is certainly credited as much to the Art Director as to anything I did.

Oh with regards to the other job I was working on at the same time, I didn't hear back from that until Thursday, you learn from being around as long as I have, that in this game, you have windows of opportunity, I guessed the other client would be slower in getting back to me, so that allowed me the necessary few days to tackle this commission... these things you learn as an illustrator with experience, Ha, occasionally though I still get it wrong, that's what keeps us on our toes!

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