Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Proposal

Last week I responded to an online ad posted by someone looking for an artist who could draw in a Disney storyboard style. After reviewing my artwork on this blog, the client--I'll call him CT for the sake of anonymity--explained the scope of the project. CT had decided to propose to his girlfriend of three years on Christmas morning. He had the great idea of presenting her with a book of drawings highlighting several key moments in their relationship. The first half of the book covers important events leading up to the proposal. For the second half, I drew the proposal (how CT envisioned it happening) and then a few extra scenes that CT hopes to see in their future together.
CT had a distinct vision of how the illustrations should look stylistically. The first reference image he sent was of a piece of conceptual art from the Pixar movie Toy Story II. It's a beautiful drawing. The artist was able to evoke a lot of emotion with minimal line work and color. With this image I had all of the artistic guidance I needed to get started.

(c) Pixar. All rights reserved.
CT then sent me a list of nineteen scenes to illustrate, with detailed descriptions of the surroundings, clothing, emotions, etc. He also sent me a few dozen photos for reference. I was impressed by the thought and care he'd put into the preparation. There was no doubt he wanted this book to be something special. When all of the drawings were finished and painted, I bound them into a scrapbook cover that CT picked out and Fed-Exed the completed book. He received it on the 22nd and loved it.
CT was nice enough to allow me to post the finished artwork here. We had a tight deadline, which had to include a day for shipping, so I poured my heart into the work because I just really loved this project.
In my last two blog posts I mentioned that I was thinking of starting a new business venture. CT's book is exactly the sort of project I'd love to work on for future clients. The book concept would be great for anniversaries, weddings, births...essentially capturing life's memorable moments.
Below are photos I took with my phone of the finished pages. As CT pointed out when he received the book, the actual colors in the illustrations are more vibrant in person.
CT proposed yesterday. Did his girlfriend say yes? You'll have to scroll to the bottom to find out.

She said "Yes!" Congrats to the newly engaged couple.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Offer

I've been thinking of starting an online business, offering a very specific art service. I've mentioned several times in this blog that I'm a huge fan of Disney movies like Mulan, Beauty and Beast, Treasure Planet--the hand drawn stuff. I love looking at production stills, such as these:

I know there are some die-hard Disney fans who feel the same way I do, and the business would target these fans specifically. I'd like to create custom, one-of-a-kind "production stills" featuring the customers, their children, pets, etc as the characters, drawn in the Disney style and painted with rich, vibrant colors. Just like in a Disney movie, the characters would be painted in flat colors, while the backgrounds would be more painterly and detailed. The problem is, I have no idea if this is a viable business. Would there be much of a demand for it, especially in this economy? No clue. I know that I would have to put weeks into each piece to produce something of Disney quality by myself (typically it takes a team of artists to produce each frame of a movie: a rough penciler, a clean-up artist, a painter, a special effects artist, etc) so the final painting wouldn't be cheap.

In fact, I started drawing one a long time ago and then got sidetracked by Lucy Clayfoot before I cleaned up the linework and started painting it.

So here's my offer. I plan on doing at least one of these gallery quality paintings for the company website (and for eBay) as a product sample. Now I could do one from my imagination, and I may, but I would also like to have one that was "commissioned" by a customer so I can show the whole process on the site. I'm going to do one painting for free. The best part is I'm opening this offer up to anyone who'd like to put their name in the hat to receive this free painting. At first I thought I would do a random drawing, and I realize that would be the fairest way to go, but I think I'd like to choose the winner myself. I'll make that choice based on a few factors, but primarily my decision will be based on who I feel would enjoy the finished piece the most AND how marketable the finished piece would be based on the "client's" vision. So if you want to be considered for this, I'll need you to come up with a basic concept for the painting. For example, if you want your kids featured, that's fine, but you also need to provide me with a scene idea. I'd prefer the scene be somewhat original (In other words you can't just say, "Draw my family in Neptune's Palace from The Little Mermaid). If you have any questions about this criteria, please contact me, but this probably won't be a problem for those of you who've had to come up with a spontaneous bedtime story on occassion.
You can see the amount of effort that goes into the penciling alone, and then when you add the painting's a lot of work.

Obviously there are varied levels of detail, for example, this one I drew below is lousy with it.

But then there are more simple drawings, like this production piece from Beauty and the Beast (which I didn't draw) that convey so much emotion without going overboard with line work.

Here's something similarly minimal that I drew for my comic book Soulmates.

These two paintings are fairly old--I've posted them to my blog before--but they're a good example of what I mean when I say the characters will be painted flat and the backgrounds will be more painterly.

The finished piece doesn't necessarily have to look exactly like a production still, horizontal and free of copy. If you'd prefer, I can also do a vertical piece with text, just like a movie poster.

If you want to be considered for this offer, you need to agree to the following:

1). You provide the content for the painting: Who'll be in it, what the scene is, etc. Once you give me the basics, I'll work with you to flesh it out before starting the painting.

2). You provide me with suitable photo reference. If you want this painting to represent your recent wedding, I'll need several clear photos of the bride/groom in wedding attire.

3). You'll receive a digital copy only of the finished piece. That means you can either use it as a screensaver or spend the money to have it printed and framed (Although I'd really love for whoever I choose to have the piece framed and then send me a pic of it hanging on the wall. It would be a good pic for the website.)

4). I get to keep the rights to it so that I can use it as I see fit to advertise my business.

5). I can't be placed under a time frame for the piece. I have so much going on, so this has to be something I work on whenever I feel like painting. Working on my third book is my priority, but sometimes I just feel like working in a visual medium. You can't pressure me for the finished product, but since I am doing this for a specific reason, to test a new business idea, I will finish it eventually.

Don't think that just because we may not talk often that you have no chance of winning the painting. That's not the case at all. I will consider each entry based on what's best for my business, not my personal life.

If all of that sounds good to you, then please contact me through Facebook or email me at with your entry and details. When I pick my "client" I'll post my decision on my blog, along with their basic concept (and probably their email entry).

I look forward to hearing your ideas!