Thursday, February 18, 2010

Steed and Peel

[Click on picture to view full-size- no really, half the post doesn't make sense unless you look at it full-size]

Based on a 1960's BBC program, The Avengers was a critical and commercial disaster when it was released back in 1998- doing so poorly, even cable tv is afraid to play it. 

I kind of really enjoyed it.  It's completely insane, makes about no sense, and some of the criminals are dressed as giant teddy bears.  Giant.  Teddy.  Bears.  But I still enjoyed it a lot.  One, it has style to spare.  It's a pretty slick and stylish production.  Two, and probably the real reason I enjoyed it so much, it has Uma Thurman and Ralph Fiennes in it.  They have a great chemistry together, and the characters are very much like the original iterations of them (plenty of flirting, almost nothing physical)- I really enjoyed that old-school romantic tension.  Don't get me wrong, though- I'm not recommending you watch it.  I'm just saying I enjoyed it. 

Which leads me to the picture.  I originally drew this shortly after watching the movie- about 3 months ago, maybe- and was pretty pleased with how it turned out.  No, it doesn't look like the actors, but I was't really looking for that.  I just enjoyed how the poses and such came out.  And then it sat in my sketchbook, waiting for me to scan it.  And then, once scanned, it sat on the hard drive.  I haven't been very interested in drawing much recently, so everything was on hold- no motivation makes it tough to get started.  A couple days ago, I finally decided I should start on posting something.  I figured I could clean up a sketch, then post it.  Good enough.  Then I came across this- I'd already cleaned it up, and figured I could color it pretty fast and post it.  As I was getting ready to start shading it as I usually do (different layer, apply shades, repeat), I realized I should do something with the background, too.  A second later, I thought I could do something as an homage to the Warhol/Steranko/Pop Art style of the late 60's- the era The Avengers originally appeared in.  So, a few hours later, I came up with the background you see above (the simple stuff in PS is always the hardest to figure out).  And then today, I realized the perfect compliment to the background, which went nicely with the fact that I never did shade the pic:  zip-a-tone.  [For those not in the know (non-art-nerds) zip-a-tone is an adhesive paper composed of a pattern of dots of varying size and spacing material artists (especially comic artists) used to create shades and tones.  It's mostly fallen by the wayside with the advent of digital coloring, but still appears from time to time- in American comics, I should say.  In manga, where black and white is the norm, zip-a-tone is as popular as ever.]    I figured I could just find an easy pattern already in the computer, highlight a bunch of stuff, press a button, and be done.

Cue three hours later. 

Not a long three hours- figuring out new ways of doing things in Photoshop is one of the things I find most creative about art.  It's such a deep program- there are always several ways to achieve the same result- that it's always fun to discover something new to me. It also makes me want to do more with it.  So, after learning how to make the zip-a-tone, it was a matter of painting it in.  Using the zip was really fun for me- even though I had trouble figuring out if I wanted the zip on their faces.  Not sure how often it'll be appropriate to use in a picture, but it's another tool in the toolbox.  

Hope you liked it.

In other news, I've added some widgets to the site, over to your right.  I found this great website,, that lets you see what I'm reading, and what I think about it.  Essentially, it's my review site, but much easier to maintain.  It lets me do a starred review, as well as post more in-depth (but still rambling) reviews when I can get my thoughts together enough to write.  It's a great way to see not only what I'm reading, but what others are into as well- I'm hoping it'll maybe lead to some online book clubs, perhaps (anyone, anyone?).  Also, I've added over there.  Think of it as my virtual playlist.  A lot of the music I mention in my posts has some kind of meaning to me, or is just something I really love, and this is a great way to share that. The more I work with it, the better it will get. Click on 'Karloff's Muse' for my station. 

Okay, that's it for now.  I'll be back soonish, okay?

Music: "Maybe" -Ingrid Michaelson

(edit- reposted with slightly tweaked picture 2/21/10)


Anonymous said...

Nice! I like this one a lot. And if I may tease just a little- I laughed when I looked at the background swirl and realized it was being pulled into the gravity field of that ginormous belt buckle she is wearing.

Steven Darrall said...

Heh- thanks. Can't believe I didn't realize the buckle was actually a singularity generator. silly steve. Thanks for stopping by:)