Monday, April 22, 2013

Mars Needs Pasties

My mother, a farm girl born in the mid-50s, loved going to the drive in.  Since my sister and I were little, my mother has shared that love with us.  We grew up on films like Forbidden Planet, Day of the Triffids, Them!, and Creature from the Black Lagoon.  Although I ended up being far more interested in horror, I'm sure my mother's passion for low budget sci-fi must be buried in my DNA.  I still have my ragged, 20¢ copy of The Encyclopedia of Monsters tucked away on my bookshelf.  I'll be dusting it off in preparation for the long overdue B-movie session of Toons On Tap.

Moreover, days before completing the AniJamRed Herring enlisted Jeremy and I's help on a poster.  For the fourth year in a row, Red will produce her massive nerdy burlesque show Babes In Space.  For the event poster, she wanted to place photos of her performers in an illustrated space landscape.  The deadline- the same as our event poster for Toons.  It was synchronicity.

Toons On Tap - Session 28: Life On Mars

Last October, the team and I had a zombie themed session of Toons On Tap that unfortunately hit the same day Hurricane Sandy did.  Goodbye, grocery money.

Meredith Viner (left) and Nic Farber at Toons On Tap - Session 16: Chicks With Chainsaws.  Photography courtesy of Jeffrey Adam Danyleyko.
The silver lining of the evening was that the models, Nic and Meredith, gave a very strong and expressive performance.   I knew we needed them back, and we needed them back together.

For the upcoming retro space session, Nic will play the brave space commander who encounters the hostile martian Meredith.  It will be silver go go boots, David Bowie songs, and badly positioned boom mikes all the way.  The poster, Jeremy and I decided, should be a cartoony take on movie posters like Barbarella.

Jeremy began by drawing the layout for this and the Babes in Space poster on paper.  In Photoshop, I rendered the image mainly by selecting sections with the pen tool an polygonal lasso tool, then painting the selections with a textured brush.  To create an aged look, I used steps 13, 24, and 25 from this tutorial.  In particular, the empty scanner hack is brilliant and will likely have me scanning a buttload of filthy things.

The process

The fonts used are Rollergirls and Helvetica Neue Bold.  I didn't care for the hearts above the 'I's in Rollergirls, but I did leave one heart above the 'i' in 'drawing'.  Gesture drawing can always use a little love.

The final poster, for web

Red Herring Productions presents Babes in Space

The previous productions of Babes In Space had a Star Wars vs Star Trek theme.  Red Herring is a major contender in the nerdy-burly scene, and this annual show is her flagship.

Unlike the previous poster, this image I rendered mainly by painting with a soft, textured brush on a low opacity.  Jeremy's layouts may have existed in the same world, but we didn't want the outcome of both images to be too similar.

The process

The most useful thing I learned from making the space posters was using gradient map adjustment layers in Photoshop.  Previously, I would attempt to get the same result by creating a gradient in a new layer and setting the layer style to multiply.  The effect isn't even close.

Forgive me, Jeffrey, for butchering your photo.

Maybe everyone else knew about this, but existence of adjustment layers is blowing my mind.  For me, Photoshop feels like a whole universe to explore.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Halfway Through the Challenge

The halfway point of the April Sketchbook Challenge between Jeremy and myself is one day away.   As I type, Jeremy spontaneously decided to do an all night Caricature-a-thon where he draws any of his Facebook friends who ask.  Good move, sir.

At the start of the challenge, Jeremy found it very intimidating to start drawing on the paper.  I know the feeling.  My first reaction to the 9'' by 12'' coloured paper was to fill it with squirrels.

Squirrels make everything less intimidating
After months of neglecting it, I tried people watching.  I'm embarrassed by how rusty I've gotten.  Although, thinking of my old sketchbooks, my crap drawings to decent drawings ratio is probably the same.

The least worst of the bunch
With lots of Toons On Tap posters to work on, I've been studying the models and costumes of upcoming sessions.  At the start of the month, we had a Lady Gaga session with Daytona Bitch planned for May.  Jeremy insisted we upgrade it to a Wizard of Oz theme.  Click your heels, ladies and gentlemen - there's a new queen coming to Toons.

R.I.P. Lady Gaga session
Some drag queen studies
My favourite subjects to draw are the ladies of Sex and the City, the Real Housewives, and People of Walmart.  I'm probably a horrible person.

Sometimes I worry I'll forget how to draw a face without being goofy.  I drew some Hammer vixens from Jeremy's bookshelf, just to be sure.

Jeremy has many, many books of lady pictures
And of course, I drew at Tuesday's Toons On Tap.

What I have discovered from doing the challenge is that I can develop small habits if by doing so I am procrastinating on bigger habits.  For example, if I want to keep my kitchen sink clear of dirty dishes, but also draw every day, my sink is going to be spotless.  

Another, smaller, discovery I made is that drawing on yellow paper is fun while drawing on red paper is as fun as a migraine.  I had no idea I would hate drawing on red paper that much.

In the rest of the month, I'll try the action film studies idea from Ctrl+Paint in addition to some much needed people watching.  More importantly, I'd like to research habit development and find out why I'll do the dishes at the expense of more important projects.  I don't need a clean sink.  I need a full sketchbook.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Topless Spacegirl Shakes Hips Or My TAIS AniJam Entry

I finished my entry for TAIS AniJam 2013 today.  After seeing the same 10 seconds on an infinite loop for the past few days, it feels good to be done.

Part one of the process here.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Toons On Tap Gets a New Look

The good news: the organizers behind TAAFI wanted a copy of the Toons On Tap logo for their website.  The bad news: this was our current logo.

Featured on one poster and never used since.
With a good reason for a redesign, I headed to the nearest library to borrow The Big Book of Logos 4.  Browsing through the massive collection, I scanned and collected my favourite designs.  A common theme was forming.

From The Big Book of Logos 4.
I was drawn to clean, geometric designs - especially circles.  The text was either all in uppercase or all in lowercase - no capitalization.  To my surprise, I was really liking bright orange.  Notably, I preferred logos that hinted at the company name through their design.  In particular, I liked the suggestion of a cockroach in the orange R-shaped Roach logo.  

Before moving forward, I asked Jeremy which of my favourites he liked as well.  In his opinion, the strongest design was for Norman Design Studio.  His reasoning: the simple symmetry.  Then, I proceeded to make a vomit dump of ideas in Photoshop.
I must have been craving Tim Horton's
Jeremy gently informed me that all but one were irredeemably horrible.  The only idea he liked was the bulldog clip and blue circle design with lowercase Helvetica Neue Ultralight.  However, we would need to change the graphic.

We brainstormed images that could represent Toons On Tap.  Shot glasses.  Sketchbooks.  Maybe even  a gesture drawing.  Yet, the simplest idea of ours was the strongest: a blank sheet of animation paper.  Life drawing for animators, implied by a white rectangle with Acme punched holes.

Then, I got an idea.  We could continue with the circle design to create personalized business cards for the team.  I made three simple images to represent Jeremy, Jeffrey, and myself.  Jeremy was best summed up by his ball cap, v-neck sweaters, and cheery personality.  Jeffrey, in contrast, is all long hair, t-shirts, and snarky eyebrows.  For myself, I included my ridiculous fake eyelashes and bleach blond hair. 

Going forward, I would like to try two ideas with our new logo.  First, we could create animated cycles within the circle for a logo in motion.  Second, cryptic 'teaser' images could be used to announce upcoming sessions.  The hours I've wasted playing Icon Pop Quiz are seeping into my brain.

Guess the theme