It has been a while since I posted anything here to really do with the actual drawing of cars… I mean, shit, that is the name of this whole mess, after all. I suppose that I could throw a few doodles into the mix now and then, right?
Going through some of the older sketchbooks and whatnot, I’ve compiled a little peek behind the scenes; the stuff that goes on before the vector and digital voodoo-type sorcery. Let’s start with this piece:
I had wanted to do a cartoon-y piece for a while, and the opportunity presented itself back in ’08-ish, so I went at it with some gusto, and created the ultimate swap meet find moment, with this happy gent scraping his way home with a brutal ’55 Chevy in tow. From markers to the scanned and re-drawn, vector art, you can see the importance of staying as true as possible to the original work. All pen tool… no brushes, auto-trace, meshes or other preset nonsense. It’s all about retaining the original line quality, and saving that hand-drawn looseness, but gaining all of the good things that a vector piece can supply!
I do a lot of t-shirt work, and to be honest, I enjoy it a lot more than the hot rod work, especially as things progress with my neuromuscular condition (more on that soon), and it really gives me a chance to play around in my imagination. There are so many things you can get away with, stretching reality on a graphic, versus having to make things work on the street!
This piece was a fun one in so many ways:
My pal Jon had wanted a cool tee for his shop. He knew he wanted a pinup girl with a retro feel, but wanted to include two of the more well-known cars they’ve painted… However, those cars are decidedly modern Pro-Touring style rides, so the challenge was on to make these elements work. I decided that I’d use the opportunity to include elements from some of my favorite science fiction spacecraft, lending a little bit of a retro/space feel. And what space-age pinup would be complete without a glass dome helmet and a ray gun-turned-paint gun? Naturally. Sketch to color-blocking in marker took what seemed like forever as my hands weren’t cooperating too well at the time, but I had managed to bust this out over a couple of days (from sketch to final vector work):
Speaking of tees and posters, here’s a little one from 2012:
This is a peek at that weird moment where the sketch meets the digital work. For me, this is a bittersweet moment at times, knowing that some elements in the original design will probably change, be it to make things more print-friendly, of due to a client’s request… And some of the really neat little bleeds and whatnot in the marker stage will be lost forever to the super-smoothness of a vector curve. I pay a TON of attention at this stage to keep as much of that hand-hewn character and personality in there!
The completed vector art:
Let’s peek at the rendering side of things with a little ’50 Chevy pickup piece. Starting with a pencil sketch (you can find the whole process on this particular illustration as part of a quick tutorial, if you’d like), I refine it to a point where I feel confident that I have enough information to move into the digital side. This one got a bit carried away, as I was putting that how-to together, and thought I’d have an expanded version for the upcoming book:
Mostly pencils with just a touch of gray marker making its way in, just to nail down the shading.
Once it’s all vector drawn (again, I’m a strictly pen tool kinda guy on these personal pieces, as it’s more about getting m,y own hand and style into the art, versus banging out a piece to feed the kids. After a bunch of hours and hundreds of layers and detailing, we get this:
Sketching on-site is always fun, and this piece was the highlight of a fun weekend, hanging in Burbank. While the plan was to go full digital with this one, I decided that it just had too much going on to lose the feel, and decided that markers just fit the bill, and, well…
…it worked out pretty well! Experimenting sometimes with a technique or style that’s outside of your everyday working methods can often bring exciting results! In this case, I had really intended to keep it looser, and get that cool plein air feel… but in the end, I forced a bit of my tighter rendering style in there. Maybe next time!
Dear Peter Jackson, kindly head forth and fuck yourself one more time, please.
Oddly enough, I lost the battle of the five Stupskis a few weeks ago, and found myself staring at the screen in utter disbelief for three hours, once again, trying to figure out just how you managed to turn the shortest book in a series into the longest trilogy of all time. Seriously, WTF??!!
At least there was popcorn. And the soothing sounds of the morbidly obese couple to my right struggling to force both oxygen AND nachos past their strained thoracic diaphragms in one shot, creating a subtle (yet soothing and nearly hypnotic) low, whistling-meets-gurgling cacophony that grew to nearly orchestral in arrangement at one point. It was a magical journey, and I soon found myself imagining that I was shrunk down, all Fantastic Voyage -like (OK, the mental picture was a lot more Dennis Quaid in Innerspace, but humor me), riding one of the chips on a sea of cheese and other things, to discover that the guy’s stomach was probably like that of a shark, containing boots, a sofa, and perhaps a tire or two, judging by the bouquet emitted as he belched, yet I digress.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s something to be said for stretching the living shit out of a story… but damn, man, you really took some liberties. It opens the door for others to do likewise, which is fantastic news for those of us waiting patiently to see Stanley Kubrick’s eleven-part adaptation of Judy Blume’s immortal work Superfudge. I can hardly wait for the part about Superman and the Transformers as they battle on Endor. Oh, that wasn’t in the book? Who gives a flying fuck? It’ll sure as shit be in the second part. Why not?
I’d imagine that the first creative direction meetings would go a lot like this:
“Hey, this book is only 190 pages long. It barely warrants a shitty animated version that we can stretch to 45 minutes.”
“We can add a battle scene. And a sub-plot about two characters you could give a shit about falling in love. A lot like ‘Titanic’, but this ship will sink a lot slower. We’ll have Oprah reprise her role as that sun-burned, obese meth addict that crashes though walls.”
“I think you’ll find that Rosie O’Donnell played the Kool Aid pitcher.”
“Good call. If she’s unavailable, we can just get the fat kid from Superbad, and deepen his voice in post.”
“Are there any parts that we can market to theme parks as a ride?”
“I’ll whip-up something that can work as a log flume or roller coaster, but using a shopping cart.”
If you haven’t yet seen this third-in-a-trilogy of time wasting, by all means, bring closure, and sit idly by as your brain is turned to goo through poor dialogue and phoned-in-at-best acting. The visuals are great, for the most part, but again, did we need THREE MOVIES, reaching nearly EIGHT HOURS (7.9, to be exact) ?! No… no we did not. Eliminate the second movie entirely, squeeze in the attack on the town and subsequent death of the fucking dragon to the first three minutes of the third helping of Hobbit droppings, and presto! I save $8.50 a head and three hours. Or, if you’re going to elaborate and make shit up, present me with some mystery, something to take home and ruminate over. Let my brain work as it was designed… not be lulled into near slumber with the fat guy next to me.
And THAT FACT ALONE would have brought me back to see another Jackson film. Instead, well, I believe it’s time for Peter and his dragon to piss off. I may forgive my clan for involving me in having seen this slop, but rest assured, on my death bed, my final words will be “…and I hated those movies. You know that, right? Oh yeah… ‘Rosebud.’”