Thursday, October 21, 2010

Opera Fairbanks "Run of the Valkyries" 2011

Had an advanced order placed well ahead of next years race event, one of a handful of projects to polish off after all the non-stop events and activities occupying time away from the drawing board over the past few weeks. With some of these repeat, high-visibility gigs there's the mounting stress over trying to top what you've done before (funny how that never really seems to happen with the regular cartoons). My process involves using the initial anxiety to plant seeds, usually gathering as much material as possible before incubating (sometimes otherwise known as sleeping on it) followed by a reboot in the morning. The outhouse interlude with a blank slate brain serves a useful purpose for idle imagining, in conjunction with an open doodle session over some fresh, hand-ground coffee. You never know where or when the muse moose will drop some choice nuggets in the meandering path of inspiration: for this it was the seasonal tradition of watching The Big Lebowski. Why, I had no idea exactly, just following the hunch in recalling the fabulous fantasy sequence involving Julianne Moore wearing a valkyrie outfit. Convincing (again) the g-friend that having to sit (again) through (again) the movie was indeed truly "work related." No... really... it's not just an excuse for a beverage.

The black & white proof was approved over a lunch-date, and then for me the challenge was coming up with a color version. Ravens aren't exactly the best subjects for color, but since that was what the client was paying for, it took some experimenting on my part to reach what ironically is one of the brightest, vibrant logos I've done. Going off the deep indigo highlights in a raven as seen in bright sunlight it was a matter of pushing that to extremes, exaggerating the range and tone on the feathers. Ornithologists might screech at the creative liberties, but once again I can enjoy the fallback rebuttal that, well, they also don't eat beavers (especially ones with helmets).

There was a minor hitch when after spending approximately ten hours total on the project it was rumored I had strayed too far from the theme, hence the last-minute addition of breastplates, and slight darkening of the tattoo in the beaver's chest fur to better emphasize the logo. There aren't many problems that can't be solved by adding breastplates.  *Note to self: when working in Photoshop NEVER flatten the image and then save, especially when you haven't had another pair of eyeballs double-check the verbage, like, oh say maybe the correct YEAR. And then, the right DATE is also a plus. Third time was the charm though, after making sure the race wasn't somehow now in Topeka, Kansas. Art is easy, it's these number-thingies that are hard.
Speed-bumps aside, it's times like these I really love my job, and am very grateful for clients that are supportive of indulging whatever eventually comes out the other end of the pen. Often it surprises even me: one sign everything's clicking into place (besides the occasional giggle while sketching) is when all the lines start to, well, line up just right, the concept coalesces into a design that is as fun to draw as it is to look at. Another indication of success is wanting a tshirt for myself, even if the five/six-color version will pale in comparison with the full-color one that'll be on posters and advertisements. 
Personally I think the race officials should award tattoos of this design to the successful finishers. And for those of our viewers keeping score, the accompanying soundtrack was of course symphonic Wagner (including an endless loop of Vorspiel), with a big helping of Tom Petty (special thanks to my man Rick), who has been a major source of inspiration as of late.

"Workin' on a mystery, goin' wherever it leads" - Runnin' Down A Dream

No comments:

Post a Comment