My other Nittany Con Commission from last weekend- a Unicorn/Eagle with a Devil Tail… a “Whatley”
Archive for Pencil Work
Just a quick fun sketch of Kitty Pryde from the X-Men I did at Nittany Con last weekend. I wanted to emphasize and show her power to move through objects, so she is shifting up through an angled floor/object. Good stuff.
In Honor of Big Red’s 20th anniversary, a wee sketch commission for a client on Hellboy Day! Thanks Mike Mignola for this awesome creation, and some amazing artwork since 1994!
“THEY LIVE” is my last “mainstream” pinup in the extended series I’ve been working on from late summer of 2013 before I go back into my next comic book project. If you consider a 1988 horror sci film from John Carpenter “mainstream”, congratulations, we are on the same wavelength! To summarize- a loner (played by Roddy Piper) finds a set of black sunglasses that shows him the “rich” are ghoulish aliens that have the population sleeping through life while everything in print is a subliminal message- so a billboard says “OBEY” as an example. There are also hidden pieces of technology (saucers, broadcast dishes) that monitor the populace while also reinforcing the messages in the print ads saying things like “SLEEP”. The aliens also dress like rich people in the late 80′s and have wrist watches that they can report to their Headquarters on, and also teleport away in case of emergency. You can see alot of that cool stuff in this clip from the film here. It is a like a super powered episode of the OUTER LIMITS, and has some amazing imagery and concepts, and can be categorized as a true underground hit that has a fandom that 26 years later still holds the film in high regard- I just saw a photo goof on the Grammy Awards and Ellen DeGeneris that gave me the final nudge to do this piece and not another pinup- here is the “straw that broke Jason’s back” in my decision making process- and reminded me that “THEY LIVE” is a social statement of rebellion against authority held by the elite. I find that is a theme I will always identify with.
So here are my ref pieces as well as my layout pieces- the composition evolved a bit, but stayed fairly consistent to show as many of the iconic elements in one piece of artwork. The faces on the Aliens were what changed the most- you can see this in my sketches and tracing paper overlays below. I realized that fandom and film reference were inconsistent on the actual facial anatomy, so I really tried to stay close to the film for their appearance. I early on decided the POV from inside the sunglasses was the best and most exciting way to show the Aliens in a group, using their watches, and coming up on the viewer. Then I put 4 of the iconic messages into the background – with OBEY being the main visual piece in the background, with the street signs and newspapers as the “support” messages. So SLEEP CONFORM and REPRODUCE and enjoy this artwork- inks coming soon!
Just three pieces from this session, the first one just was a bad one (included) but the second was good, and the last one could be my best figure drawing effort in the two years I have been at it. I felt I just nailed it- foreshortening and all. I was shocked with how fast I warmed up to getting into the swing of drawing this evening, I got in 30 minutes late, and didnt get my war up sketches, which made the session even more surprising.
… Love those feet!
My third session in the last few months with our Model, Georgia. Very long hair has been a challenge with her obscuring her figure. I was quite pleased with this session of four pieces, especially the one hour pose at the end, I felt I really tackled her hair in a creative way and stylized it!
“James Cameron’s 1986 film Aliens is my personal Citizen Kane” – Jason Lenox
“They (UA571-C Auto Gun Platform) Really Kick Ass”- Cpl D. Hicks, U.S. Colonial Marine Forces
Final Pencils on Aliens Overrun Colonial Marine Checkpoint Pinup
So I love Aliens (1986), and what a twisted web that film weaves in our pop culture- it was the last good “Alien” film despite about 5 sequels that never came close, Prometheus being the latest failure in 2012. Aliens was probably James Cameron’s second to last good film, T2 being the last one in 1991, Avatar was a lame version of the Colonial Marines set to the script from Dances with Wolves, in my opinion. Aliens also inspired tons of cool comics from Dark Horse with some great writing- unfortunately most of them had really substandard artwork except Dark Horse’s “ALIENS:MORE THAN HUMAN from Arcudi/Howard/Irwin- again in my opinion. 2013 saw Aliens & the Colonial Marines spawn a horrible video game sequel to the 1986 film that FOX films and the game maker said was “film cannon” – I’ll hit on that later as it’s most recent failure in the pop culture arena. Rarely is something so cool sh*t on so often, so here’s hoping I can shed some coolness on this property- read on!
What they all were trying to get and failed at to was the mystique that Cameron made with the Colonial Marines, their gear, uniforms, vehicles and general feel when they got wiped out by the Aliens in 1986 in that iconic film, which was widely imitated and never matched.
But then I found one thing did hit the mark- a book. In fact a technical manual.
Early in 2013 I got a copy of the long time out of print Book “ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES TECHNICAL MANUAL” which was reprinted thanks to the hype machine around PROMETHEUS. you can get a copy here and geek out a bit. Here is my copy that I kept with me as I worked on this project.
This 1996 book was expertly made by Lee Brimmicombe-Wood , and really captured everything the failed attempts to re-create this “feel” in the years since it was published, heck since 1986. The most recent failure as I mentioned above was for the new ALIENS video game in 2013 click here to read the reviews great for some laughs.
Then I started noticing people even cosplaying the Colonial Marines at conventions.
Here are two guys (one in full Colonial Marine gear!) I saw at Pittsburgh Comic Con in Late September 2013 that were super fans, I was inspired again. One even had me do a quick ALIEN sketch- check out his jacket with badges from the first two ALIEN films!
Then after Pittsburgh I got this amazing Aliens inspired UA571-C shirt from 8-Ball Tees last Fall…click here to get one yourself! O.K.- so what is the UA571-C? well I got an answer, see below, but look at my shirt here first!
This shirt featuring the gun was the geekiest ALIENS reference ever…. and I had to have it as a fan of the 1986 film! Hell, now I was all fired up by the technical manual and wanted to see more, just like all of the fans of the film have over the years….
Anyway- the UA571-C Gun… I got sidetracked, sorry!
The UA571-C gun is in a deleted scene of the film here- I couldn’t believe people were picking up on this obscure element just like the tech manual had done years ago.
So fast forward to now 2014 my pinup project is wrapping up before my next comic book creation starts in March of 2014- and one of my fans (Eric Suarez) asked me to do an ALIENS commission- it fit all of my goals as far as pinups were concerned.
1-Making a fan happy
2-Creating something that will sell as a print at shows
3-Generating something that I can show to publisher and as a portfolio piece
4-Finally it has to be something I’m passionate about that I want to show the world.
And on top of all that, I wanted to make that piece of “ALIENS” art that I never saw within the pages of Dark Horse quality wise, alot of “meh” artwork in those pages. I also wanted something that the folks that made the ALIENS Colonial Marines Tech Manual would love (super fans) and to show something that we never “quite” saw in the films. Hopefully all of this makes something awesome for my client that is paying me for the original artwork too! So the bar is now set- at “unique, unseen in the films (but hinted at) and my normal high level of pen and ink execution” on a property that has been dumped on for years.
So I made a checklist of sorts before I started
1- Show Aliens moving people infected with facehuggers away to their nesting area- the off-screen process we never saw in ALIENS (per my note above about something we have not seen before) was hinted at but never seen- I thought that would be cool to illustrate what that might look like.
2- The UA571-C gun is the centerpiece of the composition, gotta rock my shirt, right?
3- Colonial Marines on the bad end of a conflict- guns out of ammo, checkpoint overrun, Aliens placement in the artwork should be all over the place- showing their fast unpredictable movement.
4 -Use the designs from the ALIENS universe- hexagon wall layouts, flashing lights etc.
5- Using the Cameron ALIENS design from 1986, not the more HR GIGER design from the 1970′s to keep it consistent with the latter film- yes the original film Alien is quite different- sources below.
7- The M56 Smart Gun- Vazquez gun from the film ( THIS DIDN’T MAKE THE CUT UNFORTUNATELY)
8- A perspective to show ACTION!!! not straight on, with a composition of the figures to make your eye move- like the action scenes in ALIENS.
9- A close up Alien so I can do some pen and ink magic to make the details and anatomy pop up close.
And I hit 8/9 in my goal to make the best possible ALIENS & COLONIAL MARINES artwork that would catch my eye and make me want to stop and look for a bit- so here are my source pieces for ref. to my pencil sketches to transfers on sketch paper the final pencils headlined the entry above. ENJOY MARINES!!!
A solid session with a model that was older than our normal college aged folks- I really felt I nailed these four pieces, and I think the model gave us some challenges in her poses and made me work.