Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Some come easy....

Some paintings come easy and some come hard. The robot painting that you saw on Sunday comes the hard way, with lots of orphaned sketches.

Robot sketches, watercolor and gouache
I know I want the robot to be about 40 feet tall and designed like a modern yellow excavator. And I know I wanted him interacting with a modern streetscape. But should he be parked behind a repair shop? Asleep around construction equipment? Wading in a harbor? Looking in a third floor window? 

The only way to find out is to do thumbnails, lots of them. 

Giant robot enters the human world, sketch, casein, 5 x 7 inches.

What if the robot is an autonomous A.I., built far away by other robots? What if he has never met a human before? Here he is entering a town, meeting humans. I like the idea, but it doesn't suggest enough backstory or peril. 

I keep sketching actual excavators to see how they are built. This sketch is in gouache.

What if I show the aftermath of some accident that the robot is involved in? He could be surrounded by wreckage and tangled up in wires.

This has possibilities, and I keep wrestling with it. Each of these sketches is about two inches wide, and I spend only a few minutes on each one, so I'm not too attached to anything. 

There's an accident scene in front of fast-food restaurants. Putting the robot on one knee makes him more active. The robot is trying to help out, but is only making things worse.

This idea suggests a lot of ideas for backstory. As the story comes into focus, so does the composition.

This entire process is captured on video in "Fantasy in the Wild," which releases tomorrow. It's 71 minutes long, and profiles the creation of two imaginative paintings outdoors, on location.

There's a DVD version ($24.50 Region 1 NTSC) with an extra slide show, and a digital video download (HD MP4, $14.95) that you'll be able to own or stream. 

"Fantasy in the Wild" goes on sale tomorrow, Wednesday December 16, and tomorrow only it will be 10% off.
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KM Ryan said...

Fantastic to see your thought process! Thank you. Looking forward to the video!

Fabio Porta said...

Getting it as soon as it comes out! Congratulations James!

Lee Pfenninger said...

Gouache in the wild was fantastic. I'm sure this will be too. Can't wait.

Chris Beaven said...

Wow! I wish more well known artists out there would document their process and share it. I love seeing it. Maybe most artists think it will de-value their work? To me I see all that went into this painting and the finished product becomes even more impressive.

sketchanything said...

The first artist I discovered way back in the 80's was Michael Whelan. He blew me away. I was also a fan of Dragon Magazine especially the covers, whoa, man! With James's generous, insightful blog and books this reopens my interest in how fantasy art is produced. Bravo, Mr. Gurney!