Sunday, April 26, 2009

SuperSimonSunday: The Awesome Test Monster!

Simon brought this test home the other day and left it on the kitchen counter.

I picked it up said to Wendy, "Did you see this test Si brought home? This is awesome!" Wendy came and agreed: "Wow, Simon," she said, "that's a great mark!"

Still holding the test I turned and looked at her. "I meant the drawing of that monster. The drawing is awesome."

"You're ridiculous", she said in exasperation as she walked away.

Si came in and said, "That drawing? You like that drawing?! I didn't even like that drawing. I was thinking about erasing it!"

Simon was annoyed.

"Why do you always have to like the drawings I hate?" he demanded, stalking off in frustration.

I dunno... I think its awesome! And yes, that was a very good mark too. Great work, Si!

Drawing Drugs

A couple of weeks ago I posted a step-by-step of a magazine cover I was working on. Well, here's a copy of the cover PDF that my wonderful art director Linda sent over! Linda was amazing to work with - very enthusiastic and open to my suggestions. What a pleasure it was collaborating on these visuals with her!

As well as the cover, we did two interior spots and ten small icons which Linda planned to use to break up columns of mostly grey type. Drugstore Canada is a trade magazine, meaning a relatively tight budget, and that was quite a lot of artwork for the money. But I didn't want to pass up such a fun project (and really, in this economy, who can afford to turn away work?)

Happily, Linda was open to suggestions and by putting our heads together we came up with some creative solutions and figured out ways to re-use elements for different purposes, cutting down on the total amount of artwork that needed to be created.

So for instance, notice how the column icons have found a second life as a conceptual way of illustrating that the heroic pharmacist has a multitude of solutions to your health problems literally "at his fingertips".

And, if you scroll back to the top and take a closer look at the cover, you'll see how the pharmacist artwork plays a supporting role in the background, again eliminating the need to create a new piece of art.

This was accomplished by carefully planning ahead and then executing the artwork of his many "ghost hands" on various layers. That way, when it came time to add him to the cover, I just turned off the layers with the extra hands and dragged and dropped him into the cover artwork.

I'm delighted with how this project turned out - and I hope Linda was as well. I'm proud to add the cover to my collection of Magazine Cover Art by Me Flickr set. Not just because I love how the art turned out, but because Linda's excellent design of the type elements makes this cover a real showpiece. The interior art joins other work in my Editorial Art by Me Flickr set

Thanks to Linda for giving me a chance to shine on this great assignment!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

SuperSimonSunday: King Flabu-Flabu

Simon's has created a few on-going characters over the years... characters which appear again and again in his drawings over a long period of time. One of his most enduring creations is the little guy on the far-right of the drawing below: 'King Flabu-Flabu'.

Simon tells me he has been drawing KF-F since he was in Grade 6, when he was 11. He says he was playing 'The Legend of Zelda' at the time on the N64 and that there's a level where Link is inside Lord Jabu-Jabu, and that's how he came up with the name "King Flabu-Flabu". I thought this drawing below might be an early incarnation of King Flabu-Flabu because he doesn't have a crown and there's no drool on his lips. As well, he's more elongated than in later drawings, but Simon says that KF-F always had a crown right from the start. He figures he just forgot in this case.

Here's a KF-F drawing from 2007. Simon was 12 at this time. Notice the drool on KF-F's lips. Those big drooly lips were the crux of the character's creation. Simon invented King Flabu-Flabu because he wanted to draw a character with big drooly lips.

Last year Simon spent 'Take your Kid to Work' Day in Wendy's Grade 4/5 class. He taught all those little kids how to draw King Flabu-Flabu ... and even now, a year later, its not that uncommon to see KF-F drawings being done by those same kids! I think that's pretty remarkable. Si really made a big impression on those kids!

Below, the back panel of Si's calculator.

Below, a much more recent drawing from this year. KF-F has become shorter and cuter over time, and if he appears at all in Simon's work it is usually only in a supporting role.

I get the impression Simon has moved on from King Flabu-Flabu, although he insists he has not grown bored with the character. I guess time will tell. But what I find kind of amazing is that Si developed such a consistent and fully-realized character while in middle-school. I never had that kind of focus when I was his age, that's for sure!

Who knows what might become of KF-F? One day we may see him starring in his own video game or animated cartoon series...

Just in case, I better make a point of saying "King Flabu-Flabu is © 2009 by Simon Peng". After all, I have my retirement to think of!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

A Magazine Cover in Progress

I'm having a lot of fun working on this magazine cover. Thought I'd share it with you as I go along. Here's the pencil sketch, done with the Chalk Pastel tool in Corel Painter.

Now with the sketch on a transparent layer, I begin inking in Painter with the Fine Round Gouache Brush tool. I used to use the Scratchboard Tool to mimic the sweeping lines of a sable brush and india ink, but my pal René Milot turned me on to the Fine Round Gouache Brush tool. Thanks René.

... and, for mechanical objects, the Pencil Tool in Photoshop. By "mechanical" I mean not just the boxes and bottles, but anything that needs a precise linear or circular (or elliptical) shape - like the woman's eyes, for instance.

Have to get this done this weekend - so drop by later for more! ;^)

Tuesday Morning Update:

Well, things didn't work out as planned, schedule-wise. I got - not one - but two storyboard jobs in over the weekend. But now I'm back at it!

After finishing the inks, I began flat colouring in Photoshop by using the Polygon Lasso Tool and Bucket Fills. The labels were created with a combination of Lasso and Pencil Tool. Those labels took a very long time. Most of one day, in fact.

Shading was added on a multiply layer, mostly with the Pencil Tool but I did use the Path Tool for the facial shadows.

This part's done and sent away to the client... now I'm working on the background elements... so stay tuned!

Later that evening...

Finished! Well, just about. There may still be some tweaks here and there, but this is essentially it. The background took most of the afternoon to do. Because the cover girl's final position was uncertain, I had to make sure the background art was done all the way across.

So there's a lot of little bottles and boxes on those shelves that will probably never be seen. But they had to be drawn anyway.

Our man behind the counter is going to be making a guest appearance inside the magazine as a spot illo (with some interesting modifications). I might post that later. Maybe tomorrow. For now, I still have ten little icon-type illos to do for this job!