Monday, March 31, 2008

I,MONSTER: LSOH Amicus Tribute

Below is an illustration i just finished for old buddy, Dick Klemensen's magazine LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS.

The mag is lovingly devoted to the great British film company (the "Shoppe of Horrors" of the title) Hammer Films- They are best known for their horror films such as HORROR OF DRACULA, FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED and CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF. They have also been responsible for introducing wonderful actors like Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Oliver Reed.

The amusing irony of this is that the piece I'm showcasing today isn't from a Hammer Film, tho it DOES star Lee and Cushing.

No, it's from an Amicus Film (a "rival" of Hammer's back in the 60s/70s) called I,MONSTER.

Dick wanted to change the focus of his mag for one issue to another famous studio's work-a change of pace after 36 years of publishing-it promises to be a great ish!

The story of I,MONSTER is actually an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's famous novella THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE.

The main character in this not so successful version of the tale is named Dr. Marlowe and his alter ego, Mr. Blake-this odd altering of the character's names makes no sense as the story is a rather faithful adaption of the book.

I've been doing illos for Dick's book for quite a while now and i always look forward to the subject of the next issue-Along with Brit artist Adrian Salmon and Bruce Timm (the animated BATMAN/SUPERMAN among many other credits) and a handful of other artists and writers, I'm doing my small bit by drawing one of my favorite actors, Christopher Lee.

I thought I'd share with you fine folk the various steps I took to get to that final image.

These were the 1st sketches I did after deciding which film I wanted to do-quick ideas without any thought to details,likenesses,etc-just those 1st images that pop into your head-most times these ideas are the best.

then I scanned the sketches into the computer-i use Adobe Photoshop for tweaking any scanned art-nothing fancy,just changing the size or positioning-maybe switching an image left to right-moving bits of the art around to get a different feel or composition.

In this case i dropped the idea of the full figure to get closer on his face and placed Dr. Marlowe/Jekyll over Blake's/Hyde's right shoulder-having both versions of his character helps the duality of the theme.

Then i print out a copy of the scanned sketch,place it on the lightboard and "clean it up".

Then again on the LB to put it on the paper (a rough Bristol) while firming up the details better.

After that i go to the inks and wash (sorry i didn't stop to scan the inkline before finishing-i sometimes get caught up in the work and don't stop till done) black for Blake and a grey line for Marlowe-giving it the illusion of "distance" from the foreground.

When done i scan it again and play around with it in Photoshop-I layer a title over the finished piece and then i actually added a slight "diffusion" filter to the foreground figure-i thought it added a cool "atmosphere" to it-it even kinda looks a little bit like an old book cover illo to me-that brings us back to the 1st piece at the top of this post...

... and hopefully a satisfied Mr. Klemensen...;o)