Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Upstream Lies Adventure

Last week the Colour Collective prompt was 'Warm Grey V' and I wanted to do something with an animal. I discounted elephants because I had already used them for several Colour Collective prompts, and was still trying to settle on another grey animal when the final episode of Brian Cox's Forces of Nature appeared on television - with some segments shot in Iceland, with lots of grey rocks and bright grasses. So I changed my ideas completely, and decided to create a piece more focused on the background than the character:

I'm still working on putting texture into my illustrations, so this was an excellent exercise. I had a lot of fun with all the rock surfaces and grasses, and it was very meditative to work on - which was especially handy as my business email was down from Monday to Thursday night and I was a bit stressed, especially after trying to deal with tech support. It's always good to have something peaceful to work on under such circumstances!

For my character I decided on a mouse, because I always enjoy drawing them. He's got a packed lunch tied to his staff, because I also enjoy drawing berries. =) His cloak is a nice splash of colour in the overwhelmingly green and grey illustration, I think. 

About 5 hours in Photoshop CC 2015 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. I googled a lot of references, but none of them were used directly, just to inform my drawing, especially when it came to the flowers and grasses.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Rains are Coming

Belatedly, here is my Colour Collective from two weeks ago. I've had a bit of a hectic week, but the main occurance preventing my posting earlier was spending a lot of time with tech support after our service provider broke my business email. All that is sorted now, and I'm back in a more normal routine. =) 

The set colour was 'thistle', a bright pale purple. Obvious connotations were fairies and the like, but I tried to steer away from the obvious. I was watching Brian Cox's Forces of Nature, and the episode featured some Maasai. The women were so beautiful, and one of them was wearing a purple baby sling, so I went from there. I also used the set colour in the sky, to create a suitably dramatic impending storm. I liked the contrast of the purple sky against the yellow grasses. 

I'm trying to get more texture into my illustrations, so for this I played around with a lot of Kyle Webster's bristly brushes that I haven't used all that much. Colour Collective is a good space for experimentation.

About 5 hours in Photoshop CC 2015 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Flying Carpet Salesman

The Colour Collective colour this week was 'barn red', a dull red that's not really a colour I use a lot of. It reminded me of persian carpets, so I decided to redo an old illustration and update it.

Originally there was going to be a bit more to this illustration, but although I'd set aside some hours to finish it off on Friday, they were all eaten up by other stuff, and lofty ambitions of backgrounds and other characters had to be jettisoned for something I could realistically finish in the time left to me. Instead, I added the parrot, to lift the colour scheme a bit. All that dull red and orange and beige was, I felt, lacking in zing. The whole thing needed a cool colour to offset all the warms. 

Here is the original illustration. I'd come across an old promotional postcard featuring it during the week, and thought it was fun enough for updating. I've always been fond of it, but it is definitely looking a bit old. 

He was inspired by a man I saw briefly out of a taxi window in Malaysia, in 2010 or 2011. He didn't have a turban or carpets, or a feather, but he was a round little man with a beard and a motor scooter, and I went from there. 

It was originally done as an example of work for educational publishing, in greyscale and with solid black outlines. I do a lot of educational publishing and it all involves solid outlines. However, last year I took an Illustration Department Illustration Workshop (My piece 'The Quest' came out of that) and I was told I should lose the black outlines. Obviously I can't do that in my day job of blackline master illustrations, or the colouring book I'm creating, but for my portfolio I'm trying to take that advice on board.  

The old illustration was created in Photoshop CS4 (I think) with a Wacom Intuos 3. The new one was created in Photoshop CC2015 with a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2, using Kyle Webster's brushes (China Marker, Gouache a Go Go and a textured watercolour brush) and two textures from textures.com. About 6 hours all up, I think.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tropical Island

I had slightly more free time last week, and I wanted to create a Colour Collective piece that could actually make it into my portfolio, rather than just a quick sketch. The colour was 'lightning bug', an electric yellow. The obvious route there would be to do a scene with fireflies, but I wanted to do something different. It's been wet and cold here, so something tropical seemed like a nice thing to work on.

Here's a progress gif with a couple of stages:

As you can see, I didn't spend much time on the sketch, just got the basic idea down. When drawing coral reefs and lots of fish, I think it's much more fun to work out what you're going to actually include as you go. I used the yellow colour in the sand, some of the fish, the girl's bathers and the boys sunglasses. A lot of people were rather daunted by the brightness of the colour, I think, but I love working with bright colours!

For this illustration I used Adobe Photoshop CC2015 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2 - and I used Kyle Webster's brushes, mainly the China Marker and Gouache a Go Go.

Here's a hyperlapse video of me painting one of the fish, which I posted on Instagram:

Saturday, July 30, 2016

100 Days of Old Movies: The Finale!

I've put all of my 100 Days of Old Movies illustrations together in one image. Look at them all!

I've numbered them all for easy reference:

1&2: Romeo & Juliet (Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard)
3&4: Kiss Me Kate (Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel)
5&6: The Taming of the Shrew (Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton)
7&8: The Divorce of Lady X (Merle Oberon and Laurence Olivier)
9&10: Key Largo (Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart)
11&12: Romance on the High Seas (Doris Day and Jack Carson)
13&14: Spellbound (Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck)
15&16: It Happened One Night (Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert)
17&18: The Court Jester (Danny Kaye and Glynis Johns)
19&20: Britannia Mews (Maureen O'Hara and Dana Andrews)
21: The Little Princess (Shirley Temple)
22, 23&24: Two Girls and a Sailor (June Allyson, Gloria deHaven and Van Johnson)
25&26: The Scarlet Pimpernel (Merle Oberon and Leslie Howard)
27&28: The Gay Divorcee (Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers)
29&30: Footlight Parade (James Cagney and Joan Blondell)
31: Smart Woman (Mary Astor)
32, 33&34: Anchors Aweigh (Gene Kelly, Kathryn Grayson and Frank Sinatra)
35&36: My Man Godfrey (William Powell and Carole Lombard)
37&38: Easter Parade (Fred Astaire and Judy Garland)
39&40: The Glass Slipper (Leslie Caron and Michael Wilding)
41: Miranda (Glynis Johns)
42&43: Love Affair (Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer)
44, 45&46: Sabrina (Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and William Holden)
47&48: Broadway Melody of 1936 (Eleanor Powell and Robert Taylor)
49&50: The Thin Man (William Powell and Myrna Loy (and Asta/Skippy))
51&52: 42nd Street (Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell)
53&54: 7 Brides for Seven Brothers (Jane Powell and Howard Keel)
55&56: The Awful Truth (Irene Dunne and Cary Grant (and Asta/Skippy)
57&58: Pride and Prejudice (Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier)
59&60: You Were Never Lovelier (Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth)
61&62: The Slipper and the Rose (Richard Chaimberlain and Gemma Craven)
63, 64&65: Singin' in the Rain (Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor)
66&67: Gilda (Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford)
68&69: Gigi (Leslie Caron and Louis Jourdan)
70, 71&72: The Philadelphia Story (Kathrine Hepburn, Cary Grany and James Stewart)
73&74: Neptune's Daughter (Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban)
75&76: Ball of Fire (Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper)
77&78: La Belle et la Bete (Josette Day and Jean Marais)
79&80: The Bamboo Blonde (Frances Langford and Michael Wade)
81&82: Beauty for the Asking (Lucille Ball and Freida Insecort) 
83, 84, 85&86: White Christmas (Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera Ellen and Rosemary Clooney)
87&88: Hatari! (John Wayne and Elsa Martinelli)
89, 90&91: It Started with Eve (Deanna Durbin, Robert Cummings and Charles Laughton)
92, 83&94: How to Marry a Millionaire (Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall and Betty Grable)
95&96: Maytime (Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy)
98&99: Gaslight (Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer)
99&100: Two Sisters From Boston (Kathryn Grayson, Jimmy Durante, June Allyson and Peter Lawford)

I made sure I didn't feature any screen couple more than once, but a number of people feature several times. Kathryn Grayson appears the most, at three times, followed by Leslie Howard, Howard Keel, Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Glynis Johns, Danny Kaye, June Allyson, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, William Powell, Leslie Caron, Irene Dunne, Charles Boyer, Cary Grant, Rita Hayworth and Ingrid Bergman, all with two appearances. All in all I depicted 81 different actors and actresses, 102 in total. 

A big criterion that I used when picking which movies to feature was the costumes (as well as trying to have a good spread of actors and actresses). Many excellent movies from the 30s and 40s involve men in suits. That includes the entire noir genre, for example, but I didn't want all the guys I drew to be wearing suits so I gave preference to films set in historical times, or musicals with wacky costumes. I think I only drew about 15 standard everyday suits. I also wanted a nice mix of well-known movies, and lesser-known ones, such as B-movies

47 films were depicted, 21 of them were musicals, 17 were drama and 9 were comedy. I had movies from 25 different years of the 20th century, and my most popular year was 1948, with four movies. 15 of the movies were from the 1930s , 17 were from the 1940s, 10 were from the 1950s, two were from the 1960s and one was from the 1970s. The earliest movie was Smart Woman in 1931 and the latest was The Slipper and the Rose in 1976.

Friday, July 29, 2016

100 Days of Old Movies: Final Instalment! (92 – 100)

I've made it! Here is the last instalment of my 100 Days of Old Movies! Still can't quite believe that I've made it to the end, and that I did so while only being late with two posts! (and that I got all my actual work done on time as well)

92, 93 & 94: How To Marry a Millionaire (1953)

If you don't marry him, you haven't caught him - he's caught you!

How To Marry a Millionaire is a comedy film starring Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable, often mentioned because it has the reigning bombshell of the 40s (Grable) and the reigning bombshell of the 50s (Monroe) in the same picture. 
Schatze (Bacall) has a plan: she's already been married to a man with no money, who walked out on her. This time she's going to marry a millionaire. But you can't meet a millionaire just anywhere, you need to be in the right place - so she teams up with Pola (Monroe) and Loco (Grable), two dumb blondes, and they rent a fancy apartment and go to all the night spots. Only one of them needs to catch a millionaire for them to pay off the rent and everything, although obviously it will be better if they all catch one. Things don't, of course, go precisely to plan....

Here is the trailer. It seems to be happier about the Cinemascope than the film, but it is the trailer... =P

More below the cut: 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

100 Days of Old Movies: Instalment 9 (81 - 90)

This is the second-to-last instalment of my 100 Days of Old Movies series. I'm almost done!

81 & 82: Beauty for the Asking (1939)

Why should a woman stop using her brains just because she's caught her man?

Beauty for the Asking is an early Lucille Ball vehicle - it's not an outright comedy, and she isn't even the comic character. I've not seen a great many Lucille Ball films, they just don't seem to make their way down here, but I thought I'd feature her in this little film. 
Lucille is Jean, a beautician who has been working on creating a new beauty cream in her spare time. Her fiancé Denny (Patric Knowles) is a salesman for beauty companies and he will sell it for her when she's perfected the recipe. However, on the day she figures out the perfect formula, Denny drops by to tell her that the engagement is off - he's marrying Flora (Frieda Inescort), a plain woman with a fortune in the millions. Jean is shattered. Then she loses her job after stuffing cold cream in a woman's face after she chatters away about the upcoming society marriage. Her best friend and roommate Gwen (Inez Courtney) gives her a pep talk - she hasn't given up on her face cream, has she? Jean decides to give her cream a go - but without Denny to sell it, she needs advertising, so she follows advertising executive Jeffrey (Donald Woods) around until he gives in and helps her. They don't have capital, so to raise finances they send a sample of the product to ten rich women, hoping one will agree to finance a salon. Unfortunately for Jean, the woman who takes up the offer is Flora, who wants something for Denny to do. Now Denny is part of the business, and Jean has to see him every day, and (for some reason we do not understand, he's a total slimeball) she still loves him. Meanwhile Jeffrey is pining for Jean. Everyone is super happy. The salon is a huge success and the money starts rolling in. Jean sends Denny away on a business trip (out of temptation, he's indicated he'd be perfectly happy to have her as a bit on the side) and Flora comes to her for advice - she's losing interest her husband's interest: what can she do? Jean tells her the hard truth - for a woman owning a whole beauty empire, she looks awful, bad figure, bad makeup, bad hair, bad clothes. In the six weeks until Denny returns, Jean puts Flora through bootcamp, so that by the time he's back, she's a beautiful woman. Denny cottons on to what Jean has been doing, and tells her it's no use, he was a fool, he's coming back to her. Jean goes to tell this to Flora, who takes it hard, but when Denny discovers that Jean has said that they're giving Flora's money back, he changes his tune, and goes back to Flora - who has changed all the locks and ejected all his clothes from the house. Jean goes on a holiday to forget Denny, Denny marries one of Flora's wealthy friends, and when Jean returns she gets together with Jeffrey. The film ends with possibly my favourite movie-telegram:

Denny's new wife: 

Please forget that he was ever your husband STOP Please forget he ever meant anything to you, if even for a moment STOP Please forget - 

The reply:

Forgotten - Flora
Me too - Jean
I am sending you all my Mrs Dennis Williams calling cards. I hate waste - Flora
We are sending them airmail. We hope they do not arrive too late to be of use - Jean.

There is no trailer for this on youtube, sorry!

More below the cut:


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