I was lucky enough to take part in the 2nd annual Illustration Masterclass in Amherst, MA. The class was taught by a who's who in the illustration industry: Greg Manchess, Donato Giancola, Dan Dos Santos, Scott Fischer, Charles Vess, Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, art director Irene Gallo and the founder of the IMC, Rebecca Guay. It was a week of illustration madness: 12-16 hour days, 2-3 lectures a day, constant painting, way too much screwing around...what a fine vacation!
The assignment I took was for an interior illustration for a Norse-ish novel called 'Berzerker Lord'. The assignment was to depict three characters, a giant warrior, Aath, and a tiny, idealistic dreamer, Draaken, taking on a polar bear.
Here are my early thumbs.
From that, I picked the third thumb, blew it up, and made a few changes. I was lucky enough to have Joe Weatherly's help with the polar bear. It still looked a bit crowded though....Anywho, here's what I brought with me to the first day of class.
From the critiques of Dan Dos Santos and Charles Vess, I made a new rough. Changes include cropping the bear from only two sides of the frame instead of three, allowing me to move Draaken to the right and behind Aath. Also, Aath has a much more dramatic pose.
From that, I took some reference photos, using my fellow classmates. Thanks to Hasani and Noni for posing. The polar bear was made with Play Doh. I'm not sure why I didn't start doing this earlier; 4 tubs of clay for $1.99 at Target-what a bargain!!!!
Upon reviewing the photos, I realized I practically broke Aath's arm in the new rough.
Now here's the pencil rough. Note the note I wrote to myself because I made Aath's torso way too short-I would correct that digitally before I started painting. Note also, the change in perspective, made by lowering the horizon line-that idea came from the ingenious Greg Manchess. One simple change, and the drama just went up 200%!
And finally, here's the finished piece. I did change Draaken half way through. I wasn't too happy with how tiny he was.
Thanks very much to Rebecca Guay for putting this whole thing together. Thanks of course to Greg, Donato, Dan, Scott, Boris, Julie, Irene, Rebecca and Charles for being our teachers and staying with us up to midnight or later. And finally, thanks to all my classmates and new good friends in the IMC 2009.