Thursday, October 13, 2011

Leave That Thing Alone

Last night, when I really should have been working on an illustration gig, I did this… this… THING.

John Carpenter's 1982 classic, The Thing, centers around a shape-shifting alien that can perfectly mimic other life forms. When the alien infiltrates an isolated Antarctica outpost, the human inhabitants are discreetly taken over one by one. The remaining humans don't know who amongst them is human... or a THING. And hilarity ensues.

The movie blew my mind as a kid. The creature design was demented, horrifying and totally original – and I LOVED it. The wild creativity I saw unleashed on the screen was profoundly inspiring. Yeah, I was weird kid…

Tomorrow a prequel to The Thing, entitled The Thing, is being released. My expectations for the film are low–but I'm looking forward to revisiting that world. Both the world of The Thing and the world of my youth.

So rather than working last night I played. I drew The Thing and I had a blast. I suspect I'll soon be visiting more creatures from my youth: Godzilla, Alien, Evil from Time Bandits, The Creature from the Black Lagoon… hey, I'm feeling kinda inspired. I guess looking back can do that for a person.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ramona Quimby Show Poster

Initial, ugly sketch.

In case you're not familiar with Ramona Quimby, she's a pugnacious and imaginative girl featured in a series of books by Beverly Cleary. The character has appeared in movies, on television and a stage play. My illustration of Ramona is for the Los Altos Youth Theater production of Ramona Quimby.

The theater needed a poster and a t-shirt design. The poster would be printed in color. The t-shirt needed to be line art only.

Digital sketch done in Photoshop.
Effective posters are eye-catching and make a clear and concise pitch. After mulling over several ideas, I settled on this simple and fun approach. The show's title, a big selling point, is big and bold. Ramona is wide eyed and grinning as she mischievously pushes the show's title out of her way. I think it quickly conveys the essence of the character and the show: fun and kid-centric.

Once I had a sketch, I started the line art for the t-shirt. In the past, I'd do this type of work with a brush and ink, but I've gotten more comfortable "inking" on the computer. The Ramona illustration was "inked" in Photoshop. I traced my hand drawn lettering in Adobe Illustrator. Eventually, both elements (Ramona illustration and lettering) were combined in Illustrator and converted into a vector file for the t-shirt printer.

Line art version of the image for screen-printing  t-shirts.

Unlike the t-shirt, the poster art had no limitations. I based Ramona's color scheme on a production photo. I chose the yellow because it's a warm, eye-catching color – and the dark teal because it compliments the other colors while providing enough contrast to pop.