Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Winner : “Unstoppable Tuff-Girl” No. 2 Preview

“Unstoppable Tuff-Girl, No. 2, Free Preview” page 4.

120 [m ] : Ben 10: Ultimate Alien Launch Billboard

2010 - Another Ben 10 series, another launch campaign. This time Ben goes ultimate, or more precisely, some of Ben’s alien hero transformations from the previous series, Alien Force, go ultimate.

At the conceptual stage, I think Matt, Clint and I pitched some of the more diverse selection of visuals since the original series (above). This is probably because we were consciously avoiding any thing that looked like a Ben 10 poster or DVD package used by Cartoon Network (CN) prior to this point.

And the winning design to advance to the rough layout stage - features heroic Ben, popular alien, Humungousaur, and new variant alien, Ultimate Humungousaur (above). Stated like that, it sounds like we just fulfilled a marketing wish list.

The final digital painting was done out of house by artist Phillip Hom, under my art direction.

Presented here (above) is the “final” version of the poster - straightened out, cropped wider and green cosmic flames added around the figures. In animation, the green flames expand out from the chest Omnitrix badge on Humungousaur in Bonanza fashion to reveal his ultimate incarnation. Without animation, you wouldn’t know what it has to do with the show or its characters. The lesson here is, “hey, you artist working for a company, this is not your art.” The final poster was displayed outside the Atlanta Turner buildings facing 10th Street, had limited internal CN distribution as a poster, and served as the visual basis for all launch materials including on-air and on-line.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Deliberating : “Unstoppable Tuff-Girl” No. 2 Preview

“Unstoppable Tuff-Girl, No. 2, Free Preview” page 3.

120 [m ] : Star Wars Clone Wars Billboard

2009 - I forget if these were part of a sustaining campaign for the series (as in “currently on Cartoon Network”) or for the series’ second season. I do know that we were going to rely on existing imagery and not explore any thing requiring special new rendered poses of the Star Wars characters. These are my explorations, and resemble nothing of the final billboard.

The billboard, as a note, was a single billboard on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, CA. It was not part of a big national campaign. The hope was to create an image so “cool” that it would go viral on the internet.

120 [m ] : Ben 10, Alien Swarm Central Image

2009 - Alien Swarm, as mentioned previously, was an original live action movie featuring the main trio of characters, Ben, Gwen and Kevin, from the Cartoon Network (CN) animated series Ben 10: Alien Force. Especially because it was a movie, although CN does tend to pattern big marketing campaigns as movie premieres, we were to develop a movie poster to deliver all the iconic elements of the program. This was quickly, albeit informally, known as the central image.

The creative team of Matt, Clint and myself (if memory serves) largely were inspired by the current tropes of an action movie movie poster: 1) ample use of black; 2) saturated key colors (green for all Ben 10 iterations); 3) big faces of the main actor*; and 4) vignettes of key action sequences, villains or mystery characters**. Above are the little conceptual thumbnail drawings I produced on our initial brainstorming session, which mostly served as a guide for poses and camera angles which could possibly be of use from a photo-shoot of the four young actors.

Here’s what I feel needs clarification:
* Big faces of the main actor/actress is only of value if the target audience is expected to recognize the actor/actress. That seems like basic marketing to me. Alien Swarm cast all young unknowns for the main cast. But big faces being so much a part of “action movie” poster vocabulary, it was hard not to deliver some as conceptual explorations.
** Mystery characters- to show them or not to show them? Elena, the mystery character in “Alien Swarm” had nothing to offer as a visual element to the poster, because she was not part of “Ben 10” mythology. She was only given a back story to connect her to Ben - so once after audience figures out who the other three teens are they are left to wonder if the second girl is maybe Ben’s girl friend, Julie, with re-cast ethnicity. Mostly, the mystery of Elena is whether or not she is on Ben’s side, and that kind of ambiguity does not read well in a poster visual.

As always with Ben, it’s his wristwatch, the Omnitrix, that gives him the power to jump into action. It isn’t Ben that punches and shoots things, it’s any number of alien heroes in which he’s transformed that punches and shoots things.

There was the additional complication that the visual effects company would not be able to fulfill any special request for images of Ben’s alien hero transformations.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Doctor Dockter - "Unstoppable Tuff-Girl" No.2 Preview

“Unstoppable Tuff-Girl, No. 2, Free Preview” page 2.

Free Comic Book Day

 Free Comic Book Day is May 5, 2012

Come meet me that Saturday at Galaxy Quest, Lawrenceville, GA and pick up a free preview of the long in production Unstoppable Tuff-Girl issue No. 2!

Galaxy Quest
481 West Pike St.
Lawrenceville, GA 30045
(770) 339-3001

 “Unstoppable Tuff-Girl, No. 2, Free Preview” cover.

“Unstoppable Tuff-Girl, No. 2, Free Preview” page 1.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

120 [m ] : Ben 10: Alien Swarm for Action Pack

2009 - Ben 10 continues to be successful and Cartoon Network (CN) creates the franchise’s second live action movie, Ben 10: Alien Swarm. In it Elena is introduced as 15 year old Ben’s friend from his childhood (no she not a character that appeared in the original series). DC Comics’s CN tie-in comic magazine Action Pack was to include a story with the “untold” story of how Ben first met Elena.

Elena, 10 yr., with expressions.

Elena and Ben, compositions.

I don’t know how such things come to be, but our group of Atlanta based illustrators was approached to design Elena for the comic, even though we would not do the actual comic illustrations.

 Elena, 15 yr.

120 [m ] : FusionFall Print Ad

2008 - Cartoon Network’s (CN) on-line group (a.k.a. new media, a.k.a. digital) created a M.M.O.G. (Massively Multiplayer Online Game) called FusionFall. It’s kind of like “World of Warcraft” and Disney’s “Kingdom Hearts” series of games, but with CN characters and environments.

Two-page spread print ad.

This was a rare print ad buy (literally a bought advertisement) for the game. In typical process, I devised this piece of conceptual composition (a.k.a. “comp”) with characters available to us - characters which were built built in 3-D for on-air commercial ads as opposed to the simpler characters created for the actual game. Working with Matt, we built on the idea that it’s good guys versus bad guys and not at all addressing that players create avatars and aren’t playing as or controlling CN characters.

To the left, FusionFall versions of Ben (Ben 10: Alien Force), Dexter (Dexter’s Laboratory), Numbuh Five (Kids Next Door) and Samurai Jack. The four other folks represent the fore mentioned avatars. Also in the mix, if you look closely, are “Nano” versions of Samurai Jack, Dexter and FourArms (Ben 10), which in the game are pixie like entities collected which players could use for special attacks.

To the right, the bad guys including dark versions of Dexter, Samurai Jack and Ben. The rest are different monsters which might be encountered within the game.

The color blocking, was done more with the idea to keep the focus on Ben and the big monster and alludes to Russian propaganda posters.

The final ad was fully rendered with 3-D characters.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

WonderCon 2012: Books, pt. 2

More treasures found in Artist Alley and Small Press.

Confetti: A Collection of Works by Brittney Lee
by Brittney Lee, 2011. [review]

Time for Frank and His Friend
by Clarence ‘Otis’ Dooley, 2012. [review]
 Life in the Analog Age: Creative
by Gabe Swarr, 2011. [review]

Saturday, April 21, 2012

5 Marvel 50th Anniversaries

Five major Marvel Characters are sharing their 50th anniversaries this year. I know this because I trust what the San Diego Comic Con site tells me - and Wikipedia confirms.

At least as far back as I was able to attend, San Diego Comic Convention has issued souvenir books as part of the attendees’ pack. Books featuring congratulatory essays and art celebrating featured anniversaries of import to their comics-loving public.

Now in its 43rd year, this year is no different. With the advent of the internet and e-mail, submitting offerings to the souvenir book could not be easier. I can only imagine what a difficult task the Comic Con crew has before them in selecting what to include in the book.

What follows are extended versions of the four I submitted before the April 20th deadline (and hopefully successfully) - plus one, not completed by deadline. They’ve been “extended” to poster dimensions from the specifications of 7" x 9" for the souvenir book.

Spider-Man first appears in the pulp comic Amazing Fantasy, issue #15. I finalized on the scene in Peter Parker’s young life moments prior to being bitten by a radioactive spider, the catalyst which will transform him into the Amazing Spider-Man, whose costume design is alluded to as the top half of the image. I originally had a camera in Peter’s hands, as is portrayed in the 2002 movie, but the Steve Ditko drawn origin show only a few books under Peter’s arm.

The Hulk was fortunate to premiere in his own self-titled comic magazine, The Incredible Hulk. Famously, Doctor Bruce Banner is exposed to gamma radiation. Radiation being the magic stuff of the 1960’s, affects the meek doctor by transforming him into a huge grey (green by the second issue) expression of out-of-control anger - The Hulk.

When scientist Henry Pym first appears in Tales to Astonish #27 and is shrunk down to the size of ant, indeed an Ant Man, it seems less the origins of one of the founding members of the super-hero team The Avengers, and more science fiction/ horror story.  As simple as this design may be, I was unable to submit completed art by deadline to Comic Con. Many of my initial concepts attempted to include ants in the image, and in fact create either the logo or Ant Man himself from a mass of ants.

Tony Stark’s adventures as the modern day technology-infused knight in armor named Iron Man began as a feature in Tales of Suspense #39. I’m not sure how this reads to other folks, in whether his armor is being assembled or removed. I meant it to be the prior.

Stan Lee’s and Jack Kirby’s super-hero twist on the Norse god of thunder and lightning, Thor, premiers in the pulp comic Journey Into Mystery #83. Largely, they repeat their successful pattern on transforming ordinary men and women into extra-ordinary heroes for young modern technology savvy readers. Perhaps I’ve borrowed too much from Frank Miller’s famous Dark Knight cover.

The whole Saul Bass inspired minimalist approach to these posters has more to do with generating them quickly, rather than the style being appropriately applied coinciding with the Bass’ highly prolific era. Nor is the style, in my eyes, natural to my process. Indeed, if I had the time, I probably would have devised some sort of elaborate penta-tych, five panels which are to be re-assembled into a larger piece.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

50th Anniversary Marvels

Ant-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-Man and Thor
Anniversary art
Conceptual sketches
scarlet red pencil and black ball point pen ink on paper