Sunday, February 3, 2013

Process: Run Of The Valkyries 2013

Meta: Added a new label called “Process” for topic postings that have something to do with breakdowns of the design process, whether it be for freelance projects for a specific client or the usual nonsense involved with coming up with a cartoon. Usually I’ll post at least an original doodle alongside the final version of most of the published panels and sometimes a concept sketch or thumbnail rough, but I thought it’d be helpful to at least start clarifying the sub-category.

(click on image for a larger view)

After getting the annual call from the client, it was time to wander back into the cavernous repository known as the kitchen area of my brain, and rummage about all the stuff that’s been simmering away on any number of back burners, haul out a few ideas from the freezer to defrost, prep up some stock to simmer etc. The mosquito concept had been laying fallow for some time now, but even after working it up it still wasn't quite fully fledged enough to use - probably incubate it for a while and try another take at a later date... riding a flying mosquito might be better idea. The raven-helm concept was okay but was too close to a previous design, and the final concept was spiffy until I realized that it looked more like a goat or a Dall sheep than a muskox.
Incidentally - for those of our viewers keeping score at home - that was also the approximate time I began to slip out of mental gear, deviated from the task at hand and the idea began to mutate (posted here). 

The next day I realized I'd inadvertently erred on the placement of the ears by putting them on the wrong side of the horns, so Chutes & Ladders time: back to the proverbial drawing board and some more footwork on reference. The voice of my old art class teacher came back to me: "Jamie, it's okay to fantasize, but you gotta fantasize correctly." One woulda thought what with the copious amount of experience I've already had drawing these critters (UAF Summer Sessions catalog, the Large Animal Research Station, and the Department of Sociology) this oversight would have been caught , and in a way it was - early enough in the process to not be anything more than a speed-bump.
As for "Muskox don't look like that" - well if you were wearing underwear made from damn qiviut, you'd have the same expression too.

Finally came full circle in realizing what a comparative let-down it is in reviewing something that you worked so long and hard on, that ultimately turns out looking so simple. Chalk it up as a variant on the answer to the usual "how long did it take you to draw this?" (answer: "over forty years"). Also interesting to come back to the design after letting it incubate after a coupla days and recognize it as a reincarnation of the very first one I did six years ago. And here I thought I was not only remixing the pose from the very first doodle done for this project (atop the running mosquito as posted above) but also channeling the pose from Frazetta’s classic “Beserker,” albeit reenacted by a buxom Muppet.
Lastly, did a limited-edition portfolio piece version with an inspirational NASA backdrop:

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