Wednesday, 22 August 2012

50 Greatest Action Stars!

So another full page illustration for Nuts magazine, this one particularly being a job right up my street... well certainly thematically anyway!

I'd been talking to the AD of the mag only the previous week, about should an occasion arise i'd love to take a stab at drawing a big portrait of Chuck Norris; I thought this may be something that'd crop up with the release of Expendables 2, also i'm a big movie, and 80's geek as everyone knows... I think a lot of movie stuff has been going to other illustrators at the mag, while i've looked on with a bit of envy, and of course a fair bit of admiration too for some of the images created.

Anyway only a week later, and this job came up for 50 Greatest Action Heroes, needless to say I almost bit their hand off for this one.

I was asked if I had any ideas for what we could do for this illo, and I suggested a crowd scene very much like the movie poster from the 80's, or even a VHS box cover for that matter, the one I sent over as reference was the poster for the movie 'Warriors'... to my surprise they went for it!

I started this the next morning which was a Saturday, but came up against a bit of a roadblock almost immediately, I thought the best way to get that 80's feel over was not to actually colour it my usual way, but to go for a more painted look.

Now back in the day I was one of the earliest digital painters this side of the Atlantic, however i'd traded in that look down to two main reasons; There wasn't enough work around for that kind of illustration style at the time, and secondly I went back to my roots stylistically with drawing, which is basically what i've been working in for the past 5 years or so, and has obviously proven popular.

I suppose what I did with the above job is come up with an amalgamation of both styles, so there's very much line work on display, but the colouring is less basic and far more modeled.... I did this not necessarily consulting with the AD, so I could have fell flat on my face, in fact for a long time this image was looking pretty ropey, but by the time i'd sent the rough i'd got it looking pretty sharp... luckily Simon the Art Director is open to new stuff, and loved the style for this.

There's not the full 50 on the images above, but somewhere around the 25 mark, once the artwork was done I was asked if I could make the text more cohesive with the artwork, which I did by a bit of light digital painting.. Si had already provided the text with flames.. Ha, although I was worried there when I heard the dreaded words "can you handle the text as well"

I saw the artwork in print yesterday (bottom pic) and while there's things i'd maybe have improved with a bit more time (some of the crowd centrally at the back) I think it came out very well indeed to say that I have painted in this way for a very long time, in fact I wouldn't rule out a change in how I do certain if not all illustrations in the future, i'm not saying they'll all be like this, but I certainly think I may colour my illustrations with a bit more variation, and of course every now and then do a full-blown digital painting with no linework at all should a job arise.

I'm hoping to do something again very soon in this style, most probably for Nuts as I know they were very happy with the appearance of this... who know's maybe a full page portrait of Chuck Norris!

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