Again – a color version of a drawing that I’ve shown here in the past as a black & white image: My version of Venus from FIREBALL XL5 with some “tweaking” in both appearance and ability.
(It occurs to me that in our current socio-political environment someone could assume some sort of sordid intent with my use of the word “tweak” but please be reassured there is no ulterior motive.)
There’s a bit of challenge in maintaining uniformity in the XL5 crew (especially after you’ve seen color photos) so I kept the good doctor’s green jumpsuit but gave her a pointy-shouldered jacket to match Steve Zodiac’s uniform.
It also seemed a perfect situation for my beloved Trap-Jaw palette comprised of the tropical magentas/oranges and turquoises of that particular He-Man adversary. However, I was putting this together it occurred to me that those colors just a matter of horking from Filmation’ s color choice – some of those colors can be found in vivid sunsets of both dawn and dusk in Alaska.
…and there’s yet another influence, one that I thought I’d imagined for years – a toy set called Hamilton’s Invaders that was on the market for the blink-of-an-eye in 1964. It also used colors like chartreuse and turquoise found in my “Trap-jaw Palette” and while print advertisements were the only presence Hamilton Invaders had in the Last Frontier, what I saw was intriguing enough to have a permanent aesthetic influence on me.
Latest installment – but lacking captions, logo etc. I don’t have a 11″X17″ printer/copier so I had to tile the image from multiple smaller prints – hence the are also some obvious mismatched areas I’m also trying to brainstorm a way to enhance the aerial perspective as seen out the window without the linework washing out completely in some places.
I don’t know how many of my readers live in Seattle, but if you do live in the Emerald City, work in a creative field and are interested in professional development I would recommend enrolling in The Rekindle School (https://www.classesandworkshops.com/). Rekindle is an independent education program loosely affiliated with the Seattle Experimental College and features classes in traditional art, cartooning, writing and film-making.
Nils Osmar is the writer, director, producer, principal and chief cook/bottlewasher of this program and every semester he puts together an entire academic program from scratch. Even if his former students didn’t sing his praises as a teacher and creative professional I would still recommend him highly, if nothing else but for the firm shove he gave me towards professionalism when I was taking baby steps towards a creative career 40 years ago.
Nils is one of those rarest of animals – an established creative professional who is also a decent teacher. Not only can he walk the walk, he can talk the talk….and you’ll understand him when he does.
My Star Pupil spent a couple of hours in the studio with my Beautiful Saxon Princess and I. He had made a snake and lady-bugs out of Paperclay a few days earlier and yesterday they had dried enough to paint.
I’m a product of the Seventies in that both my social sense and my creative vision were influenced a great deal by what was going on in the decade from 1970 to 1979. Economically speaking it was terrible with most of the decade stuck in ‘stagflation’ – a stagnant economy wracked by inflation, and the country suffered a major geopolitical black-eye in Southeast Asia. At the same time it looked like racial issues were being addressed, and the multicultural bridge crew of the Starship Enterprise more than an escapist’s dream – which made my heart warm. My parents were an anomaly for their generation in that they were color-blind when it came to race, and so the idea of everyone of all colors getting along and working well together seemed only natural.
I was excited to be studying ‘commercial art’ as well and I loved the flamboyant renderings and splashy color choices of illustrators like Bob Peake that were so popular at the time. I looked forward to working in that design world, so at times it was challenging to have my illustration career on hold for five years while I served in the Army….but when I came out of the Army things were starting to change. Individual art directors were being replaced by committees and group-think tends to shun the experimental. Race relations were starting to change as well and the future didn’t seem as positive as we thought in the previous decade.
One indication of the changes was also one of my signature bodies of work – the group of uniform designs I created in 1986 and 1987 for FASA’s foil-covered BattleTech House books. It was a marvelous opportunity and a great learning experience: if you line the books up in order of their production you can see a gradual positive change in both my figure drawing and marker technique.
Unfortunately that project is unlikely to happen again with the same results.
Why? Jordan Weismann was the sole art director for the entire project and he pretty much let me run with my ideas – in the entire series he turned back exactly one drawing. Unfortunately by the last book Jordan had left and I had to contend with three different people dictating often conflicting changes which made for a drop in concept and quality. I no longer had the freedom to excel.
There were other trends that were disturbing me… Early on in the BattleTech project I was able to keep that Enterprise bridge crew model-mix of genders and races but as the series wound up with the committee in charge, it seemed like all the figures they took exception to had darker skins or only “X” chromosomes. Those committee objections took me totally by surprise (hence the title of today’s post). I’d been tooling along with my Seventies goggles but when I stopped and took a good look around in 1988 everything was very different.
I won’t even go into how I feel about the way things are now, but rest assured that I still prefer that Seventies perspective and I still put more stock in a person’s actions than the way they look.
This laser-equipped trooper from the Eridani Light Horse happened at the very beginning of the series
Re-visualized version from earlier in this decade
The only thing better than the stuff Sir Gerry Anderson and his crew thought up is tweaking the details. I love retro-designing vehicles and costumes and when I was dusting some of my “trophies” in the sitting room I got the idea for a uniform for the Moonbase ladies had SHADO been organized in 1908 instead of 1980.
Working with my Star Pupil doesn’t always entail slaving over the drawing board. This picture documents one of the many breaks we take in between drawing and sculpting, though you could refer to this as yet another study session.
Art history – because we are analyzing a classic television program…
I definitely I learned a lot from this session – as in discovering the degree to which my hair has gone thin and white…
This post is not exactly reeking in Christmas-osity but I wanted to share the latest installment of Dog King John & the Stolen Syrup.
Merry Christmas wishes to you all!
It’s a busy time of year and I get to have my Star Pupil with me in the studio a bit more often than usual. After our last session Jaybug has developed a passion for sculpture, which for a five-year old usually means he will stay on task for seven to ten minutes at most. However, It’s been a little different this time around and I know for a fact that we’ve had three episodes of Dynotrux air since he started pushing Super-Sculpey this afternoon.
3 x 23 minutes = 69 minutes or an hour & change.
I am not sure what to make of it.
I’ve had fourth-year art school students that can’t focus for that long….
I have to consider this sketchbook drawing to be a “qualified success”. I’m happy enough with the drawing but at the same time I am frustrated with the way some of the thinner black lines have faded, changed colors and bled into large areas of color. The pens and markers didn’t work as expected.
In our age of instant/constant feedback manufacturers change products to follow changing market trends which may or may not be really there. It used to be that I knew what each medium, support and tool did both by themselves and combined with each other but now I have to make preliminary tests for everything – even sketchbook drawings.