Friday, October 23, 2009

Now For Something Completely Different...

Happy Friday to all!

Today I thought I would kick off a little project that I have wanted to do for a while now. I kept putting it off with excuses like "I have no time" or "I'm not quite ready." Well, no more excuses.

Doing this blog has been great for me. It gives me a reason to draw every day, and it also makes me available for questions and comments. One of the most frequent comments that I get from art students around the globe is "What should I put in my portfolio?" While there are many different answers that all depend on your desired position within the art field, I do have several stock responses:

1. Throw away your school work.
2. Don't rip anybody off.
3. Take a well known story, and "re-design" it.

For today's post, I will focus on point number three. In my opinion, the best thing you can do as a prospective character designer/illustrator/concept artist is to take a story that the Art Director is familiar with, and put your spin on it. Push it as far as you want, but be sure you keep things clear and easily explainable. (Because believe me, you will be explaining them.) Character design is an obvious choice, but you could also explore environment and prop design.

Also, if you wanted to get extra bonus points, you could push things even further. Set the story in a completely different location or time period. Make all of the characters squirrels. Perhaps your version of Robin Hood takes place in the refrigerator. You never know...

So why am I talking about this? Well, I have decided to put my money where my mouth is, and do this myself. It may take a while, but each morning I will sit down and push toward my goal. the story I have chosen is "The Wizard of Oz." Why that story? I like the possibilities. Varied characters with very unique personalities. Fantastic locations. Magic. Fantasy. Good. Evil.

Here is the twist. I am going to let you (my loyal blog readers) decide what direction I go with this. I have chosen three different settings for this re-telling, and you get to pick where you want me to go. I have set up a poll over on the right, and you can vote.

Setting 1: The Wild West

Setting 2: Space

Setting 3: Steam Punk

Sound good? I will set the poll to run for a week, and after that I will get started. Please pick something good. (In all reality, any of the three would make me happy.) So vote!!!

This should be a lot of fun, and I look forward to getting started. Thank you all for humoring me.


Laurghita said...

two bunnies with one shoot: Steampunk+Western (setting 1)

Javier M. said...

Loving this idea! My vote was space!

Jamie said...

I wanted to put in a few words of caution against steam punk. I love the steam punk aesthetic. I have, however, already seen The Wizard of Oz (and everything from Mickey to Macbeth, for that matter) go steam punk before. I've never seen it go Western, though.

To address the beginning of your post, as a student, I find this advice invaluable. Specifically number 1. I've been told this same advice on three occasions. Two of them happened today, and twice I've heard it from you. This is so hard to do, but throwing out the school work, especially knowing that information while I am still in school, helps me in so many ways. At the very least, it:
Makes my reel different from theirs.
Makes me work and practice on my own time, always improving, especially while I have the advice and expertise of my teachers and peers at my disposal.

Anyway, thank you for the advice. I first heard you say it earlier this year at SIEGE in Atlanta. It stuck with me then, but now resonates with me more deeply than before.

DN said...

Yeah, voting one, but I really wanted to vote for 1-with-3, as Laurghita says. (Took me a minute to realize there was an actual *poll* over on the sidebar for some reason.)

Caram said...

This sounds like its gonna be a fun experiment…Imaginative use of the soapbox! What happens if there's a tie between two genres?

Anonymous said...

you could honestly combine all three of those to work... because you threw the steam punk in there it allows you to go spacey... and wild west just functions well with space period so... all three? but if you have to just pick one... i'd go steam punk.

Racattack Force said...

I've always seen "The Wizard of Oz" to be one of those stories that could work will in a steampunk setting.