Wednesday, August 11, 2010

VH1 Behind the Music!

Some folks (guessing fellow artists) seem to enjoy having the doodling curtain pulled back. So here's the riveting story of my a Katy Perry illustration. If the word "riveting" doesn't seem to fit in the context of me drawing, please read no further (or is it farther?).

First is the pencil sketch emailed to Rolling Stone (I added the color guide after it was approved for my own reference). The only instructions given were a 5 by 8.5" of Katy Perry in a teen girls room. Out of all my styles they picked the "realistic painting" which meant I would have to break out the dreaded airbrush to lay down a layer of gouache (used a lot of regular brushwork on top). To represent the room, I went with lots of what I like drawing anyhow, wacky stuffed animals. Started the pencils Monday morning (final art due Wednesday), and got it good enough to email off a few hours later. Pencils were approved at noon (only point being her head looked to small, and after they mentioned it, I agreed). She was VERY difficult to capture. I must have redrawn the 1" high (on the art itself) face at least 8 times, and I'm working from reference of her portrait in the exact same position, so I'm not trying' anything tricky. I also rearranged all the stuffed critters to fit around her better. After roughing in the colors I felt better about the illo having decided to leave the background white and just hint at the bed with blue brushstrokes. Like many of my pieces I was ready to throw the seemingly hopeless thing it in the trash 1/3 of the way through, but I thought about RS would never calling me again and how much I could use the $1500 (like for food and shelter), so I continued, just aiming to have something not too bad done. Then I tackled painting the face and somehow by the grace of God... it looked like her (at least as close as I'm ever going to get). That was 90% of the work. My frown had just turned upside down! The rest was easy sailing. Since I had a limited amount of time I planned that every individual object would basically be two colors and stayed away from highlights and reflective light (If the deadline permits I am inclined have everything look like shiny round candy). At 10pm Tuesday, the painting was finished. I still have my final crutch, Photoshop, so after it was scanned, I enlarged her head even more and cleaned up all the speckles. By the stroke of midnight, another 2-day masterpiece for the M.O'C legacy!
And then everyone was very sleepy and pulled the covers up to their chins. Good night! I'll leave the nightlight on. Sleep tight!

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