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Showing posts from May, 2008

Flash Gordon:Start to Finish. Part 6-The Final

So it all comes down to this. Last time I told you that I felt I was almost done. However, that was not the case. The project languished for several years. I used a segment of it for a printer's test once but then it sat again. Finally not too long ago, here in early 2008 I opened it up and decided that I was going to finish all my projects that I started. Now armed with a plethora of custom brushes and the latest edition of Photoshop (CS3) I gave myself a deadline and thought 10 years was enough. I went back and touched up what I had already done and dove in head-first to finally paint everything that was waiting. More changes were made but they are not as drastic. The color palette became less red and distressing was added. Ten years since I started. Hard to believe. It really does seem like just last week. I hope you all enjoyed the process and the journey. If not, at least it's over.

Thanks! I REALLY hope you all like it!!

Flash Gordon:Start to Finish. Part 5-More Changes

Well, alot of time has passed again. Somewhere around 2003 I decided to revisit the project and re-paint my characters since I was now much more comfortable with working in Photoshop. When version 7 came out with the much improved brush engine, it really made a difference in my work. Coupled with that, the file handling of layers became easier too. It's SO hard to go backwards with your work, thus a re-paint was necessary. I also had gained better reference for Flash himself once again so I did a quick test painting and then proceeded to make the change. You can also see that some elements are still just paste in's of reference but it's starting to look finished. I got alot of prodding to finish at this point. My friend Tim even bought me a reproduction of an original Flash Gordon serial poster as inspiration for me to finish it. I could almost taste it!!!


Flash Gordon:Start to Finish. Part 4-Mock up & Color Study

When I did my first mock up in Photoshop, I was still not actually thinking of doing the final in a digital application. This must have been done around 1999 or 2000. Notice that the laser rifle in Flash's hands is not even finished but I had already changed the head. Most elements are actually my reference pasted in as placeholders until I could complete my drawings. Still thinking that I would do full rendered drawings for every element by hand.

Sometime after that I must have made the decision to forge ahead and try to complete the job in Photoshop. The first color comp is relatively unchanged from the black and white mock and the coloring looks quite crude now, but at the time I actually thought that I was almost done!! Little did I realise what was ahead.

Flash Gordon:Start to Finish. Part 3-More Drawings

Everybody loves a good villain and I think Ming is just about tops. He really sets the standard for sci-fi villainy. Would Darth Vader exist if Ming did not?? I don't think so. Anyway, during my research I noticed quite late is that most posters for ANY incarnation of Flash Gordon really emphasized Ming in the composition. Even my thumbnails did that initially. Therefore I decided I would change that. This time the hero would be the true centerpiece. Ming can always steal the show, but why make it easier for him.

Finding good reference for Charles Middleton proved to be quite an undertaking in itself but I think he turned out well in the end. Some have already voiced their opinion and stated that he was their favorite part of the final painting. So here are my preliminary drawings of Charles Middleton as Ming the Merciless.

Flash Gordon:Start to Finish. Part 2-Drawings

Once I knew roughly what I wanted in my composition, I began doing research and gathering reference. I can't tell you how much this has changed since I started. When I first began I had to rely on old magazines in a library, pics that were photocopied so much that the image was all broken down and freeze framing and drawing from a VCR. As the years went on, the Internet became invaluable as did DVD and permanent screen grabs in better resolution. However, I could not find pristine prints of the old 1930's movie serials and they are all grainy and fuzzy even on DVD. Of course better reference sometimes necessitated a redrawing or repainting part of the picture. That happened alot actually and if I saved EVERY version, I think there would be about 12!! Also, as you will see when this is all over, that the final drawings are not always what wound up in the final painting. As I got more experienced with Photoshop, I was able to repaint right in the file without redrawing first. …

Flash Gordon:Start to Finish. Part 1-Thumbanails

Ten years ago I did a small thumbnail on a scrap of paper in the Campus Store where I worked in college. Classes had ended and was just prior to graduation. I had done a few "poster style" pieces of art for my senior project and there was a few subjects I didn't have time for. Flash Gordon was one of the them. You might remember from earlier posts how much I have always liked the character (if you don't remember, go check it out on my archive. NOW!). I had also just discovered Photoshop and became curious how I could incorporate digital technology into my art. How naive I was! Well, alot more thumbnails followed. I had gotten comments from some faculty members during my senior project that my project should have been thumbnails!! I really like doing them I guess. I love the exploration of shapes. Or maybe I just suck and it takes me forever to find something that works!

It's not uncommon to put aside projects for personal use when faced with doing work that puts…

Test. This is just a test.

I do ALOT of doodling on the computer. I love trying out new ways to do things, mixing and matching, importing textures and brushes, etc. I have always been like this. Even back in art school, before going digital, I was pretty much doing this with traditional media and I am glad that has not gone away in spite of it. Helps to remind me that the computer is a tool, not the end all be all solution. So anyway, this was an old sketch done with textured brushes and such. It was my first attempt at doing so. I guess I am showing this as a preview of what's to come and then you can see for yourself where it was applied and, hopefully, refined.

Pinocchio is finally dry!

You might remember a few posts ago how I had to put aside a Pinocchio painting because his feet were wet and in the interim I completed a whole other painting. Well, that painting sold in two days!! A new record for me. Well, Pinocchio is finally done and approved. I don't think it will sell in two days but I do hope that it sells. Enjoy!

"The Skeleton in my closet is a Funnybone"

I love cartoons. I always had cartoons in my life. I love drawing cartoons and have done so professionally for 13 years. Somewhere along the way I must have angered the cartoon gods. Why? How? I don't know. I hope to find out one day as long as it does not appear to me as a safe or piano falling on my head. Why do I think I am cursed in some fashion? Well, let me tell you. I really love seeing my friends and peers names in credits of movies and TV shows. I have seen them on Spider-Man, Lord of the Rings, Tarzan, Mulan, etc. My good friend and former roomie is currently working on The Spirit. Me? My credit?? A piece of shit cartoon made ten years ago when I worked at Funnybone in Connecticut. I hated working on it and I hated the final product. I have to say that it was the worst period of my life and I am sure those who knew me then would agree that I was not happy. And I am sorry for those around me that suffered as a result. I thought all this was long gone. I stopped working t…