Monday, 9 April 2012

Commission: Cinemascope #1

(from Cerebus Art)
This one started as a request for a recreation of the cover of Cerebus #1. We were offered a very good price, but when I sat down to do it, I realized that I was pretty much burnt out on the cover of Cerebus #1, having done a recreation for Greg Hyland's Lethargic Comics and another one for our 2004 Christmas Card, I didn't have anything left to say. Having never done it as a painting before I thought I would sit down and do a thumbnail watercolour really quick (took about an hour) just to see if there was anything in the colour scheme that I could interest myself in. It's always interesting either trying to draw or paint flames. I can't say I was thrilled with the result. As always, when working on the cover to number one, I remark to myself on the ridiculousness of it. How did Cerebus get that high in the air? Are the flames in the background and he's just jumping in front of them or are the flames underneath him (in which case, why isn't he cooked?). And why isn't there any sense of illumination? Obviously I was dealing with that this time out by using various values of red. I even drew the logo in such a way that it looks as if the firelight is pouring through it but it's still, basically, an idiotic idea for a picture. That was when I thought that it looked like a storyboard for a movie in a way, just because of the shape. Like the old Cinemascope concept when movies were fighting a losing battle with television back in the 1950s.

So, I decided to go with that and basically do a multi-image "widescreen" series of storyboards with the Cerebus logo coming into being in the background, progressively larger. Of course, the final image would have a much larger logo and the character more centred in the "widescreen space" than my first quick colour sketch. But at least it answers the question I always had: yes, Cerebus is jumping over the flames.

Of course, before I even got this far Patron B had had second thoughts so I think it's only fair to say that the finished piece will be his if he's interested but obviously we aren't going to hold him to it since this only vaguely qualifies as the cover recreation that he requested. We haven't really had to address that one yet. What happens when what we choose to do just isn't what the guy wanted? I think at that point all you can do is call it a loss and then see if someone else is interested.

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