Sketchbook Sharing: Talking Heads (Plus Party Progress!)

Something I’ve noticed in getting back into daily sketching is that I tend to get caught up in the little details very easily.

It was while watching an interview with Martin Scorsese on TV that I hit on the idea of digging up interviews with people I admire. When the focus is just on a face, moving just casually, I can create a more impressionistic portrait than I can from looking at a photo. It also means I have to pick out which details are important very quickly.

Curiously I noticed that when I draw a face the first thing I render is the eyebrows and nose. No idea why.


Martin Scorsese
 
Alfred Hitchcock
Orson Welles

Last week asked for feedback on ideas for a new illustration. The responses you provided nothing short of incredible. They were so articulate and encouraging that I was riding high on those replies for the rest of the week.

Based on your comments I’ve created a more refined scale drawing with more defined character placement, perspective and light-shadow contrast. 


In this upcoming week I plan to practice drawing the figures and experiment with various poses to decide what looks best.

Now I’d like to hear from you. Like I said, I love reading your comments.

Any fellow artists have some quick-drawing tips? Are there some particular people or characters you’d like to see me draw? 

Power Rangers Costume Commentary Part 1 (Mighty Morphin’ - Zeo)
This weekend marks the premiere of Power Rangers Super Megaforce, the 20th anniversary season for the Power Rangers franchise. This latest installment, features a team of rangers with the ability to morph into previous members from the team’s long history, taking on their predecessor’s unique powers, weapons and costumes.
During this season we can expect a lot of classic costumes back in action. In anticipation I am going to spend the next week looking at these spandex suits season by season, charting at the ups and downs in the appearances of this long running superhero franchise.

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (1993-1995)

Here it is, the one that started at all (on this side of the globe anyway). Nostalgia aside, these are actually some pretty good costumes that help to establish some of the reoccurring elements that we’ll see throughout the series. The helmets are sharply sculpted to resemble each ranger’s unique animal, prehistoric creatures in this case. The diamond shapes on the chest, gloves and boots resemble sharp animal teeth. This pattern also serves to balance out the bright colors of the rest of the suit.

This installment also started the tradition of the Sixth Ranger, a character type who would be introduced a third to halfway through the season so as to add a new figure to the latest line of toys. This character will often carry the other five’s motif, but possess a unique attribute that distinguishes them from the rest of the group.
Starting out as an antagonist to the team, Tommy, the Green Ranger has a helmet design that is very similar to the Red Ranger, serving as a dark parallel to our lead hero. He also has a golden shield with a diamond center not to dissimilar in shape from the other’s chest crests. 

While the five rangers are very similar in size and build, this shield broadens his shoulders and breaks the silhouette of his figure, making his appearance more distinct and intimidating. His gloves and boots had a long talon-like triangle pattern as opposed the other ranger’s diamond shapes, suggesting a fiercer, more lethal fighter. The gold armbands around his biceps boast of his superior strength. He parallels his peer’s design, but also taunts them with their own image by demonstrating that he is their deadly better.
White Ranger (1995)
Once they ran out of Japanese footage for the original Green Ranger, who was by now the series most popular character, the writers came up with the idea of having Tommy lose his Green Ranger powers, only to gain new ones as the White Ranger, whose suit and stunt footage was borrowed from another Sentai series. 
The costume itself is alright, with a strikingly limited color scheme that looks quite regal. In-universe its fitting the redeemed hero should wear so much bright white and the shoulder pads echo his previous iteration quite nicely. 
My only problem was that it wasn’t designed to match with the other Ranger’s patterns, so he always seemed to stick out like a sore thumb in the group shots, especially with the lack of sculpted lips and how his lack of colors made the rest seem “loud” by comparison.   
Mighty Morphin’ Alien Rangers (1996)

Yes, Alien, even though they are clearly ninjas. I guess the writers were just looking to come up with a reason why we didn’t see this team join forces with the Power Rangers every week when the going got tough so setting these spin-off rangers on another planet seemed as good as the next idea.
These suits are remarkably simple. In fact, they’re probably one of the most “uniform” costumes in the franchise. Even their visors are very similar at first glance. Its that thin bar shape to their vision holes that just screams “Ninja”. 
I will compliment the use of color in this lineup. For a ninja team I think primary colors plus black and white works well within that theme. Also, I think a female white ranger helps tie the black ranger into the rest of the group’s brighter colors much better than a pink ranger.

The sparseness of the design makes them a unique pedigree. They’re distinct, but not necessarily memorable.

Power Rangers Zeo (1996)
After three years of the Mighty Morphin’ suits, this new iteration began the trend of introducing new costumes every season. As far as the shift between the two, this was about as different from those original suits as you could get. With the white in a more confined part in the chest area, these uniforms feel like they’re bursting at the seams with vibrant color.
The sculpted animal helmets were replaced with geometric shaped visors. The Red Ranger’s star visor in particular looks great. Plus these helmets have a subtle countdown with how many sides each shape has (Star-5, Rectangle-4, Triangle-3, Bars-2, Oval-1). 

The gold and white accents strike as “heroic” and “majestic”, but for the life of me I can’t tell you what the “theme” of this team is supposed to be, which is something of a drawback.
The “Gold Ranger” carries on the tradition of the Sixth Ranger with his big shoulderpads, though I’m curious why they went with the name “Gold Ranger”, when everyone has gold in their costume and the lack of shine and shimmer makes his black suit all the more noticeable in this lineup. 

Tomorrow: Turbo- Lightspeed Rescue
I want “Harsh Truth Elsa” to become a thing. Make it happen Internet!

I want “Harsh Truth Elsa” to become a thing. Make it happen Internet!

Nothing sets the mood quite like sperm wallpaper

Nothing sets the mood quite like sperm wallpaper

Sketchbook Sharing: Let’s do the Time Warp again! Featuring The Fourth Doctor, Marty McFly, Wonder Woman and some self portraits.

http://erikjohnsonillustrator.blogspot.com/2014/01/sketchbook-sharing-lets-do-time-warp.html

Godzilla sure knows how to woo the ladies. 
mekagojira3k:

In the end, the world discovered that a little love and a fairly inexpensive bouquet of flowers were all it took to stop the creature’s rampage.

Godzilla sure knows how to woo the ladies. 

mekagojira3k:

In the end, the world discovered that a little love and a fairly inexpensive bouquet of flowers were all it took to stop the creature’s rampage.

Foreign Frozen: Disney Posters and Marketing

Even a month after its release during of the busiest times of year, especially for movies, Disney’s “Frozen" still continues to put its competition on ice.  

This past weekend however, a friend of mine asked why Europe got better posters for this film than we did here in the states. 

Heres what they used to advertise to cinemas in France:

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And here are the posters primarily used in America:

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These foreign posters reminded me of the teaser posters made by the late great John Alvin, who became synonymous with the Disney Renaissance of the1990s. His work was simply alluring, using silhouettes to build these stories in your imagination long before you ever saw them come to life on screen.

Heres just a small sample of the kinds of images he produced for Disney.

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Even when Alvin wasn’t directly involved with creating the poster, the people in charge of making them were likely told to mimic his style.

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This trend left an impact on a generation of movie goers, so it was no surprise that it made a comeback when the company was looking to return to the fairy tale features with big musical numbers for the big screen again. Just compare this poster for Mermaid based on a sketch by John Alvin, to the poster used as the primary promotional piece for Princess.

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However, times have changed, and so has how movies are marketed. Today viewers can come off as more jaded and cynical, especially during a recession. Now domestic posters showcase their characters in full view, looking directly at the audience, often with a raised eyebrow to emphasis "Hey you". Playing up the comedy angle to let you know this is going to be a feel good kind of movie.

 
This formula has been very successful thus far, as you can see in these examples:
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Since U.S. dollars is where the studio is going to see the bulk of its return, it only makes sense to play it safe and shoot for mass appeal on American soil. Both formats have their place, but I’m glad to see that the tradition is alive and well elsewhere.  

michaelmay:

Can you pick me up some ice?

michaelmay:

Can you pick me up some ice?

I both pity and envy the person working the return counter today. 
astromonster:

Godzilla, Santa, Kemular, Gyango
jimpluff:

Kaiju Christmas shopping!

I both pity and envy the person working the return counter today.

astromonster:

Godzilla, Santa, Kemular, Gyango

jimpluff:

Kaiju Christmas shopping!