Monday, January 28, 2008

MRS EMMA PEEL

My good friend, Sarah heard I was leaving the country and decided she needed a Jason Badower original. In some of the best and most unique taste exhibited to date, she asked me to draw Mrs. Emma Peel from the Avengers.

Some of you may not be familiar with the Avengers (the tv show, not the comic). That's ok.

Some of you may only be familiar with the movie starring Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman and Sean Connery. That's not ok.

To recap, The Avengers is a sixties British espionage series. It's got some surreal sci-fi elements, witty dialogue and really pushed a lot of frontiers. If you've only seen the movie, either scrub your occipital lobe with a scourer or go rent, buy or steal the original series.

Mrs. Emma Peel was John Steed's most famous partner. Vivacious, witty and incredibly progressively written and performed by Diana Rigg. I was looking forward to this piece!

The thing about doing portraits of actual people (as opposed to fictional ones like Storm) is that I don't want to just draw a photo. I figure, the photo is already there. What we want is something new! So how to create a piece of art that is unmistakably both Diana Rigg and totally new?

SKETCHES

I began playing with sketches. I re-watched a bunch of stuff on Youtube getting the feel for the series and the character again. I was trying to figure what an image would look like if it was created for the show today. Whats interesting is that women stand very differently today than they do back then. As beautiful as Diana Rigg is, she doesn't have the sort of postural modeling training that almost all female actors have these days.

Sarah went with my gut instinct which was A.



LINE ART

I liked pose A too, but it's a terrible sketch! Totally without life. I knew I had to add the trademark Mrs Peel spunk to it. Right now it just looks like some frump standing there.

A tilt of the hips and a little more butt and twist completed the pose for me.

It's almost shocking for me to look back on this stage of the picture. There's barely anything there! I'm stunned by how I'm relying more and more on the painting stage. I don't know if I will ever give up line work. I love my line work. I always associate line work with comic book art, which is where my heart is.

TONE
Here is where the majority of the work is done. I wanted strong, powerful lighting. I saw two lights, one from behind her, and one from in front of her. I also had a ball rendering the pvc trying to make it as as shiny, and reflective as possible. Again, it was really horrible looking at all the reference of chicks wearing skin tight pvc outfits. Because it was such an exhausting stage, and I'm so thorough, that stage might have taken longer than it should have.

The outfit is a little tighter than what Diana Rigg wore back in the 60's, but hey, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do! But all the zips, buckles and stuff are in the right place.


COLOUR

I placed down basic colours and then got carried away painting her hair and started on her skin. But I was really worried that the piece colour-wise would be really bland. There was so little variation - hair, skin, pvc and gun.

I wanted something really bold and stylised. I remembered those two fill lights. And had a bright idea for them (pun unintended).



LIGHTING

I went searching for a background and wanted something suitably 60s and English. What better than a big sodding Union Jack? I tried adding some patterns and circular textures and spirals but they just detracted from the design. The Union Jack also gave me my idea for the fill lights.

I used a lighter blue and a darker red to help both merge and pop her from the background. The blue was nice, and I almost left it at that, but the red totally brought the piece to life with a heavy stylised effect that I really liked. It gave her a third dimension that I found very convincing. I had to sit on this a while before I realised that this was the right direct




AIRBRUSH

I proceed to imagine that the whites of the Union Jack were white neon tubes and proceeded to flare them out around her. I also added a whiter light coming from above her, and slightly to her left. I flared out all the pvc and the gun and it suddenly got a lot of punch becoming a lot more graphic - red, white and blue.




TYPESET FINALE

But the background needed something more. I created a trademark silhouette of John Steed and placed it in the direction of the light source. This helped both ground the image to the series and the 60's.

I added the lettering and it also helped to place the image and sell the limited colour palette.

I had pretty much finished this by the time I left Melbourne, but I gave it a once over when I hit London. I couldn't have come up with a more appropriate piece for my first finished piece of art in London.

Thank you again, Sarah! I can't wait to see it printed out and hanging in your place!

COMMISSIONS: Email me at grael23@yahoo.com for price and details. Doors are closing soon as I'm about to get back into Zero G (when my they raise my hdd from the dead).

SKETCHBOOKS: A couple left. Email me. $10+$5 postage.


LONDON: DAYS 10 & 11

This weekend was partying hard with JAn: The "Polish Meat-Grinder" and a bunch of his very cool friends: Sara, Ben, Jimmy, Jess, Sandra and Tom (I'd met Ely last week). The plan was to drink as much alcohol as possible before heading out to a club called "The Betty Ford Clinic".

Around 11pm, Shana (JAn's awesome house-mate whom I'd met last week) and her two friends Kristine and Alice walked into the room declaring that they were heading off as the bus was coming soon (they wanted to catch the bus as it was less walking and Shana was wearing 7.5" heels! She also had to lug her cds as she was DJing also). I turned to JAn and asked him if he knew how to get there. He replied he didn't.

SHANA, ALICE AND I: GRINFEST 2007

The girls and I waited for the others and only Ben, Sandra and Tom shuffled out. Next thing you know I'm on the bus, JAn is nowhere to be seen and I'm feeling smaller than Shana's heels for leaving him behind. It turns out Kristine, the American was navigating. Stuck between bus stops for 20 minutes in the freezing cold, I was forced to ask, "Why the hell are we following the person with the wrong bloody accent?!"

Marooned at this bus stop, I bought a Smirnoff Ice to keep me company and Kristine asked for the, "Cheapest wine you've got."

I gotta say, I've had some pretty cheap wine before, but never had I had a wine that tastes of cheese. No, seriously. Cheese. That stuff was horrific, but Kristine stubbornly persevered, grinning through gritted teeth that, "It wasn't that bad".

It was. When the Anti-Christ rises that's what he's going to drink.
KRISTINE HOCKS THE DEVIL'S PISS, SANDRA IN THE BACKGROUND

The Betty Ford Clinic was heaps of fun, but was merely an appetizer for Slimelight the next night. (LEFT: MAGGIE, ALICE and JAn - Shana has such a great eye for the camera).

We all reconvened at JAn and Shana's on Saturday. More vodka ensued. Getting to Slimelight was a little easier and double vodka's mounted an ongoing charge for the rest of the night.

JAn and I waded through a sea of familiar yet unknown faces. So many people reminded us of people back home.

Late in the evening, Kristine introduced me to Paul, her boyfriend. Unknowingly she unleashed the geekiest of conversations. Her eyeballs rolled, and she muttered obscenities under her breath as she realised she'd lost her boyfriend for the night. JAn, Paul and I geeked out to Comics, Transformers, Roleplaying, MMO's and Battlestar. I'm looking forward to catching up with Paul again. I'm going to try and adopt him as my comic book sugar daddy while I'm in London.

I regretted looking at my watch as I saw it was "Cinderella was about to turn into a pumpkin o'clock". The flak fire of abuse was heavy, but I dodged it darting between goths, "Yours*" and gravers, running for the door.

Sunday was... painful. But oh, so worth it!

* "Yours": The bitchiest game in the world, introduced to me by Emmy. It involves finding someone who has made a terrible fashion decision, tapping your friend on the shoulder, indicating said tragedy and then saying to your friend, "Yours!".

6 comments:

djsynne said...

Awesome write up about a brilliant weekend Jason and the artwork is stunning! I`m really curious about the collaborations you`ve done with JAn now :) Hope you`re ready for round three on Friday:)

emmelinemay said...

yo Jason! good to meet you on Saturday!!

Still gutted I missed the comics conversation :(

Coming out to DANCE on Friday?

jasonb said...

SHANA: If you go back a couple of posts you will find something called PSI which we did together. I will post a small 5 page comic called LUCY (unless I've already posted it).

EMME: It was awesome meeting you! Big shoes or not! You've got a tough decision to make on friday... hang with the girls or geek with the boys. .. =)

Anonymous said...

(Willow here, having a login issue.)

Seriously, dude, you should be writing comedy. Maybe you could do your own comedic comic? :)

Faboo stuff as always, LOVE your respect for the classic Avengers. Hubby and I are thinking of going as Steed & Mrs. Peel for Halloween this year. :)

Can't wait to have you in sunny California!!!

pleasuredroid said...

Just wanted to say hi and that it was really nice meeting you, event tho it was briefly. Bloody Austrailans! ;)

Jess from that night.

jasonb said...

Thanks Jess, and awesome meeting you! Damn Swedes! Go back to your duvets!

WILLOW: Great to hear from you again. Present in the mail incoming!