Sunday, November 30, 2008

Toronto Back Alleys pt. 17

A break from the night time drawings of alleyways I've posted lately.  This one's a winter one, which I did as a card for the holiday season.  Like many of the others, this one was also done in ink markers, with a little drybrush thrown in for texture.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

U Go Girl

Here's two drawings of U Go Girl -- a superheroine I drew for a commission.  I had actually never heard of this character before, so the client even had to send me some reference, since I knew nothing about the comics she appeared in (even though they were created by the fabulously talented Mike Allred).

Anyway, because of my lack of any connection to the character, I had a bit of a tough time coming up with a drawing.  I tried to think up an action pose but not knowing much about her made that difficult.  I knew her super-power was teleportation, but what was that like? Did she just pop in and out of space?  Did she disappear in a blue cloud and a "bamf!" sound effect?  After a bit of thinking, I settled on trying to create a quiet drawing of her, in a contemplative mode (as had been shown in a couple of the reference samples).   For what its worth, I'll outline a bit of my process in coming up with the final drawings below.

First, I did a quick colour thumbnail in marker, which I thought was alright, but pretty dull: 

But the thumbnail did get me thinking about one of my favourite paintings, "the Voice" by Edvard Munch:

  I've loved that painting since I was a teen -- the quiet serenity of that piece is so evocative to me.   So, inspired by that memory, I sat down and did these two pencil sketches:

I couldn't decide which one I liked better, so I decided to ink and tone-up both of them and let the client pick which one he preferred.  The client eventually went with the blue one on the left, so I still have the other one, and I'll probably keep it to sell at a convention or show some time in the future.

Incidentally, this isn't the first time I've been inspired by Edvard Munch's paintings.  I often do subtle riffs on his work, as you can see in this previous post.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Everybody Dies: an Interactive Fiction Game

Nerd Confession Time: ever since I was a teen, I've been a huge fan of text-adventure games, or interactive fiction (to use the high-brow term).  Those who were computer geeks like me in the 80's will know what I'm talking about and might even remember games like Zork, Planetfall or the Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy (all made by that classic interactive fiction company, Infocom).  

Anyway, I still play those kinds of games today and when my buddy Jim Munroe asked me to draw some illustrations as part of his new text-adventure game, Everybody Dies, I was thrilled.  My schedule at the time was jam packed, but there was no way I was going to miss out on the opportunity to get my name in the credits of something like that!

Originally, I was asked to draw 3 small illustrations, but that quickly morphed into 16 full drawings, which is a pretty sizable amount.  But after I played through a rough beta version of the game, I was totally stoked and wanted to deliver the best job possible.  Jim is a professional writer of some repute, and he crafted a game that was refreshingly original and hilarious.  

After the game was completed, it was entered in the annual Interactive Fiction Competition (a cool nerdy event all on its own) and we were delighted to find out that it won 3rd place.  The credit really goes to Jim, since he had the hard task of writing and programming it, but I was very happy to contribute.

So all this is preamble to me explaining where the illustrations at the top of this post are from, since they are 2 of the 16 drawings I created for the game.  These two feature two of the characters from the game, Graham and Lisa.   You can check below to see the pencil roughs for those illos.

The best part though is that if you want to play Everybody Dies and check it out for yourself, its completely free.  You can play it online at this link (using Javascript), or  download various Mac or Windows versions to play offline.  Give it a try, if you've got the time -- Jim's writing is a real treat.

P.S. for the record, my favourite Interactive Fiction games of all time are Sorcerer, The Lurking Horror and Infidel, all by Infocom.   I even played them again just a couple of years ago.  There -- taste my nerdiness.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Toronto Back Alleys pt. 16

Another night time sketch of an back alley in my neighbourhood.  I'm still experimenting, but getting a bit closer to the look I'm aiming for.  Like the last one, this was also done small, in ink and thinned-out gouache.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Toronto Back Alleys pt. 15

This one's more of a quick test sketch, trying to capture that summer night, orange streetlamp glow. It was drawn smaller than the others, in ink and thinned gouache.