Sunday, March 9, 2014

I Heart Girls: Katie Pfeffer and Arcade Pals

I collaborated with I Heart to create a series of images combining my video game artwork with photos of models taken by Cherie Roberts, and here's one of them!

This image is the last in the series and the second to feature model Katie Pfeffer. The main thing I had fun with here was the interaction between Katie and the characters. I think more so on this image than the others I was really thinking about unique ways to make that interaction happen, and making it look like a little more was going on than just drawings being added to a photo. Cherie and Katie did an awesome job matching the pose I drew. The characters included are Q*Bert, the hotdog and egg from Burger Time, a crab from Mario Bros, Donkey Kong Jr, and a bug from Galaga.

Here are some progress images:

Something I enjoyed about these progress shots was noticing how much of a difference there was before and after I polished up the arcade cabinet with lighting and shading. I'm pretty happy with the hybrid realistic/illustrated look it has. Rather than single out a specific game I decided to make an "I Heart Girls" cabinet and incorporate some of my favorite design elements from other arcade machines.

Here's the drawing of the girl I did for the side of the machine:

And if you look closely, I added in a nod to local arcade Billy Bob's Wonderland by including one of their tokens. It's been in my area since I was a kid, and is now one of last places in the country where you can see the animatronic Rock-afire Explosion band:

This series was a blast. Thanks Cherie and Katie!

Friday, March 7, 2014

I Heart Girls: Gabby Jeanne and Samus

I collaborated with I Heart to create a series of images combining my video game artwork with photos of models taken by Cherie Roberts, and here's one of them!

This was another pose that Cherie came up with, along with beautiful model Gabby Jeanne. I chose to theme this one around Metroid games and include the series heroine, Samus.

The challenge with this piece was having a real girl and illustrated girl side-by-side. The reason why this was tricky is because I wasn't going for contrast as much as with the other pieces, and attractive cartoon girls are known for having exaggerated curves and features. Having these exaggerations next to a real person would only make them look more-so, and probably end up looking wonky. I was really curious as to how this would go and if I could make it work.

In the end I am very happy with how it turned out, and I think both girls successfully look like they are occupying the same space. I also like how natural the scene looks given that it wasn't a pose I had planned out beforehand.

While working on this series I tried to think of lots of unique ways for the characters to interact with the models, so I'm also pleased with how Gabby wearing Samus' helmet turned out.

Here as some progress images, including embarrassingly bad first sketch:

Thank you Cherie and Gabby!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I Heart Girls: Katie Pfeffer and Zangief

I collaborated with I Heart to create a series of images combining my video game artwork with photos of models taken by Cherie Roberts, and here's one of them!

Today's image features the lovely Katie Pfeffer. The intention for each image was for me to come up with the poses and scenes beforehand so that Cherie could match them in her photos, but this was a pose that Cherie and Katie came up with just as an extra. Cherie sent it to me in case I wanted to use it, and I loved it.

I like including elements in my drawings that you can only get away with in illustration, like using the impossible size of a charterer like Zangief to create contrast with other figures. I was curious to see what that would be like when an actual person was involved, which is what lead to this idea. (That and my love of Zangief.)

Katie's shirt was blank in the photo, so of course I had to add something to it. And I finished it off by giving her the Chun-Li hair bun...things. I'm sure they have an official name.

Here are some progress photos:

Thank you Cherie and Katie!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I Heart Girls: Jaclyn Swedberg and Mario

I collaborated with I Heart to create a series of images combining my video game artwork with photos of models taken by Cherie Roberts, and here's one of them!

When Cherie brought up the possibility of working with the 2012 Playmate of Year on this project it took me about two seconds to say yes. The result is a gorgeous photo of a gorgeous lady, Jaclyn Swedberg. I'll leave you to do your own research on her Playboy shoots.

When I first came up with this pose I had a different idea in mind that involved characters gathering around to watch the screen of the model's Game Boy. But after I saw the photo I had a better idea, which came from thinking about the contour of the model's body mimicking the terrain of a video game level. Mario games have the most recognizable side-scrolling levels, so going with that seemed to make the most sense. I allowed myself to use all Mario characters in this image with the caveat that I wouldn't use them at all in the other pieces of the series, just to make sure I came up with different ideas.

Here are some progress images of how the whole thing came together:

Thank you Cherie and Jaclyn!

Monday, March 3, 2014

I Heart

I'm extremely excited that I can start showing off this very cool project I've been working on! I collaborated with I Heart on an a series of images that combine girls and video games...okay, nothing new if you've checked out my work before, except this time the girls are real live models!

This is probably one of the most fun projects I've ever worked on. Cherie Roberts, who runs I Heart Girls, approached me about being the latest in her series of artist collaborations. Our artistic paths had indirectly crossed before, as she photographed models wearing my shirt designs for the 2010 IGN gamer girl gift guide.

The project basically involved Cherie photographing models so that I could draw in different video game elements and characters around them. From the beginning, Cherie wanted the theme of the work to be all about my interests and was extremely accommodating. One of the coolest parts of the whole process was that I was able to come up with the idea of each scene beforehand. This means that I did a thumbnail sketch and Cherie photographed the model in that pose. It was so cool to just jot something down and have it result in a professionally shot photo of a gorgeous model.

Right now you can check out the feature about the work over on I Heart There you can see some small versions of the images, and I'll be posting each of them here as the week goes on (as will I Heart Girls.)

So check back this week for posts about each of the images with more info!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Miss 2600

If you bought one of my calendars then today you turned the page and were greeted by Miss 2600, inspired by the Atari 2600. I really wish game consoles still had wood paneling.