Sunday, February 15, 2015

"AK Zodiac"

Oh boy am I ever gonna get a lot of grief about this one, as it's laden with obscurity. But given the surprising results of random field-testing, I went ahead an ran with it anyways. Then again, that might more accurately reflect the demographics of my acquaintances, many, if not most, of whom are impressive repositories of trivia in their own right. The challenge is to identify references to all twelve of the zodiac symbols, which have been "Alaskanized" to varying degrees.
The key is below the fold if & when you give up...

Clue Ratings + Notes: 1) Medium/Compound bows are hard, but made much more sense than a centaur; 2) Medium/ at least for dry-cabin-dwellers, who will relate to the ubiquitous jugs for carrying water; 3) Hard/Gotta be a baseball fan and/or from the Twin Cities; 4) Easy/Dall sheep 5) Medium/Constellation of Capricornus (never did get the whole goat + fish-tail thing); 6) Easy/That's a lotta bull... 7) Easy/Ode to Pippen; 8) Easy/King Crab, not the WTF creature from John Carpenter; 9) Hard/Probably the most difficult one, even though millions of folks will immediately recognize the iconic cover; 10) So easy; 11) Hard/Scales of Injustice? 12) Easy!

This panel dovetailed with another round of lecturing on the compositional arrangements of visual elements in a drawing. The very first rough draft pretty much has just about everything worked out as far as references, but I switched up the point-of-view so as to facilitate an easier reading of the image, which was somewhat more complex compared to the usual cartoon.

Posting this scan from my sketchbook (and a few other references) to show the lengths I went to depict an appropriate Scorpions image: initially picking the cover of Animal Magnetism (seen as a poster in the first doodle), then the cover of their most famous recording, Love At First Sting (also appearing as a poster in draft versions two + three), and finally going with arguably their most easily recognizable album cover, 1982's Blackout.

Started to move things around a little, mostly changing the orientation of the kitchen counter area, but it still sort of led the eye from right-to-left and exiting without cupping a viewer's gaze within the panel so as to better pick up on the pieces scattered throughout the composition.

In retrospect I think I actually prefer the layout of this last rough (above) as opposed to the final version that was penciled + inked on a sheet of Bristol Board. Mostly on account of having to wade through it again as an inking demo, and then several passes sitting at the computer to digitally shade it all in. The pendulum of complexity usually starts to swing back towards more simple panels after one of these highly detailed creative expeditions.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks John - some things occasionally are in retrospect. At least how much time + though went into a rather weird one.