Friday, January 31, 2014

Peabody Parody Posters

These are parody Posters of Academy Awards Nominees ("Her" and "The Wolf of Wall Street") that serve as promotions for the upcoming film "Mr. Peabody and Sherman". 

They are a bit on the rough side side I did them quickly to just get the joke across and while the movie has had many promotional videos, it was tough to find faces that best matched the look I was spoofing.

Just trying to crowbar one last thing before the end of January because oh me oh my Feburary is shaping up to be a busy one!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

So Long, Farewell! (Aaron & Sarah)

Sorry, no "Sketchbook Sharing" post this week, on account of being exceptionally busy this week. However, on thing I knew I had to squeeze in was this farewell card for a local couple, Aaron and Sarah, who are leaving this weekend to start a new chapter in their lives to move out to Colorado. 

I opted for drawing the two of them as The Captain and Maria from "The Sound of Music" with the rest of their friends (myself included) taking the place of the Von Trapp children from the reprise of "So Long, Farewell".

It seemed fitting since after their farewell, they're going to have to "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" because Colorado actually has mountains, whereas the highest point of elevation here in Michigan is the snow pile in that corner of the Wal-Mart parking lot. 

Plus, of all the personalized greeting cards I've made for my peers, the ones that include movie references are always the most fun to do. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sketchbook Sharing: Oscar-icatures!

Earlier this week, a friend asked if I would come to a party to do some caricatures. Since I haven't done anything like that in years, I decided to try and practice by sketching some of this year's Oscar contenders. (See the portmanteau there? Oscar-icatures, its Oscar + Caricatures.)

Joaquin Phoenix in Her

Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips


Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle

This was a considerable challenge for me. After spending years being taught how to draw faces in proper proportion, it was exceptionally difficult to break from those rules. I actually did a lot more of the nominees, but these are the ones that I think turned out the best. 

I don't want to make it sound like I'm giving up after trying something new, but this really felt more like a chore than something fun, so I think I'll stick to my strengths with drawing portraits for the foreseeable future.

Also, I learned that its easier to edit your weekly blog post when you stick to drawing a single theme during that week, so I think I can still mark this experience in the win column. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Sketchbook Sharing: Let's do the Time Warp Again!

Not as much in the post here as last week on account I've been very busy making sure the sidewalks are safe to tread on. I tell you nothing makes you feel more civilized than beating the ground with a stick... to chip apart the ice of course.

Something I have been tinkering with recently is a new self portrait. I'm considering some kind of full body shot, maybe with some props, definitely in color, just so I can have something to liven up the front page of my website.

To try and determine how best to draw myself, I looked at some photos that I took as references for some earlier projects. I think I can safely say that I have my boxy mug, but am still a little uncertain how to proceed from here.

In the meantime, here are some warm up sketches of some of pop culture's most famous time travelers, Marty McFly and Doctor Who's Fourth Doctor.


Now let's wrap up with Wonder Woman. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Foreign Frozen: Why France got better posters than us

Even a month after its release during of the busiest times of year, especially for movies, Disney's "Frozen" still continues to put its competition on ice.  

This past weekend however, a friend of mine asked why Europe got better posters for this film than we did here in the states. 

Heres what they used to advertise to cinemas in France:

And here are the posters primarily used in America:

These foreign posters reminded me of the teaser posters made by the late great John Alvin, who became synonymous with the Disney Renaissance of the1990s. His work was simply alluring, using silhouettes and negative space to build these stories in your imagination long before you ever saw them come to life on screen.

Heres just a small sample of the kinds of images he produced for Disney. (Click to enlarge)

Even when Alvin wasn't directly involved with creating the poster, the people in charge of making them were likely told to mimic his style.

This trend left an impact on a generation of movie goers, so it was no surprise that it made a comeback when the company was looking to return to the fairy tale features with big musical numbers for the big screen again. Just compare this poster for Mermaid based on a sketch by John Alvin, to the poster used as the primary promotional piece for Princess.


However, times have changed, and so has how movies are marketed. Now domestic posters showcase their characters in full view, looking directly at the audience, often with a raised eyebrow to emphasis "Hey you". Playing up the comedy angle to let you know this is going to be a feel good kind of movie. There are no secrets or surprises in this campaign. What you see is what you get.

This formula has been very successful thus far, as you can see in these examples:

Marketing has sort of a Pavlovian effect and since lots of people saw these movies and recognized them for their quality, it makes sense that the marketing team made an effort to bring audiences back again with the same kind of format from something that they liked before.

 Both styles of posters have their place, and I'm glad to see that the tradition is alive and well elsewhere.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sketchbook Sharing: Warm Hugs with Jennifer Lawrence

I thought I'd take advantage of the new year to start developing some new habits. I thought I'd start out by putting up at least a  post of week, just to share the kinds of things that I'm working on in between the big stuff.  

Something I've been tinkering with since the start of the month has been this piece of fan art inspired by Disney's animated feature "Frozen". 

In that film Olaf the Snowman's catchphrase is "Hi, I'm Olaf and I like warm hugs!" and Elsa the Snow Queen is unable to touch anyone without risk of giving Party B a pretty severe case of frostbite. I thought that there would be some bonding time between these two, since Olaf couldn't be hurt by her powers and she could finally open up to someone. Thats not what happened in the movie, which is fine, but I don't think Olaf actually gets a warm hug from anybody by the end, which left me... a little cold. 

While this got off to a promising start, the challenge arose when it came to drawing Elsa on model with her long limbs and thin torso, especially when she's already in this usual "sit-kneel" position. After that it got kind of frustrating to continue to push this project so that it I could put something finished online and garner a great deal of attention from the film's fandom while it was still at the peak of its popularity, so I think I may give this one a rest for the time being.

Meanwhile, I've also gotten into the habit of daily warm-up sketches to help stay in practice and help generate inspiration. Here are some of the highlights from this past week: 

There was a lot of buzz about about Jennifer Lawrence being the year's most bankable star and I thought it might be interesting to draw an actor when they aren't being "a character". Although I did feel a bit of my soul wither away and die after using TMZ photos as references.

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