I’ve had an account at DeviantArt for years now – that’s where my Retropolis archival prints come from – and though I don’t get very active on any of the social networking sites, I’ve always enjoyed the opportunity to stumble over really neat art that I’d otherwise never have seen.
So as I was doing test renderings this morning I just browsed through the artwork that I’ve faved there over the years, and I figured I’d share some of it with you.
I’m now at forty illustrations for my first Thrilling Tales project – which puts me more or less halfway done. There are still three or four pictures that I’ll be revisiting, but heck, I’ll take my milestones as I find ’em. No matter how long the setup for a set of pictures takes, I still seem to average 1.25 days per illustration. This is a constant source of wonder for me.
Along the way I’ve been tinkering with a random pulp sci fi title generator – also for the Thrilling Tales site – which has really gelled now. It was an interesting problem that involved getting the right flavor for the titles while also creating variety in the sentence structure and coming up with a pretty extensive vocabulary. I’ve been trying to make sure that the titles almost always make grammatical sense without restricting their logical sense. There’s a kind of magic that happens with unexpected combinations. The more you restrict the potential nonsense, the more you lose of the unexpected wonders.
Anyway that’s a diversion, but in fact it’s meant to be a diversion: one of a series of little playthings to flesh out the content for the site. I want to do more of those…. but many of the ideas I have would be best done in Flash, and I don’t want to take the time to learn Flash at the moment, since it’s the stories that are the main event.
The Life Magazine web site is displaying a gallery of box art from vintage space toys – lots of robots, of course, but there are all the other accessories that amateur spacemen needed back in the day: ray guns, rockets, radios, and even holsters. ‘Cause, you know, our motto was "be prepared". I think that was us, anyway.
They’re including links to buy prints of the images from Getty Images, but those links didn’t want to work for me. Your mileage may vary.
Another week, another set of illustrations for the first story at Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual. This week I’ve started working on a different branch of the story (which is Part One of The Toaster with TWO BRAINS!) – because the format for Thrilling Tales is designed for (mildly) interactive, illustrated stories. In the course of illustrating these stories, I get to explore how different characters experience the same events, or events that are linked to those events in the other interactive branches.
That’s one way of looking at it. The other one is "Cripes! How many illustrations does this thing need, anyway?!"
A question that we very nearly explored last week.
But I digress. This branch of the story becomes something like a detective story: a crime’s been committed, and a couple of our heroes spend the day investigating it. It’s a puzzler, and no mistake. What’s fun about this for me is that because our future here is based on the 1920s and 1930s, the dialogue and the situation are flavored with a little Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. (If I could conjure up a weird stew of writers’ brains, these stories would be looking for a recipe that included Damon Runyon, Dashiell Hammett, Ring Lardner and Terry Pratchett.)
So without banging the viewer over the head with it (I hope!) I’ve used lighting here that’s a clear callback to film noir – the strong light and dark areas, and the Venetian blnds with their shadows and dusty beams of light. It’s pretty fun, or at least it was for me. It’d be easy to drive that over the top, but I hope I haven’t.
Anyway, I’ve wrapped up the scene that takes place in this office and in the coming week I’ll be building something else – someplace we’ll actually see just before this.