Friday, February 11, 2011

Drawn Studies for the Space Jockey

Sometimes I think it’s helpful to use several different reference sources for a given figure. For this science fiction cover called Space Jockey (Color and Light, page 163), I wanted to show a space pilot who seemed to come from the “Right Stuff” era of bold space exploration.

 Instead of resorting to the camera to take photos of a specific model, I tried to construct the character in my imagination by using a variety of charcoal studies on tone paper. Some are done from my own face in a mirror, lit frontally with a clip-on lamp. I also used a couple of my little plaster head maquettes  as models. The one in the lower left is the simplified plane head  (Imaginative Realism, page 69, based on George Bridgman’s analysis) with a “mouth barrel.”

In the end I only used photo reference indirectly for some of the costume details, but not for the face and hands. This way of working helps steer me to a more structural understanding, away from a purely photographic look.
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Previous Posts: Character Maquettes, 
Tone paper studies, Using (or not using) Photo Reference


Tom Floyd said...

Wonderful! I have noticed a few painters, who when they leave some of the photo referencing behind they tend to do more impressionistic brush strokes too. And I enjoy that feeling much better than the more polished photo finish type strokes. I noticed it here in your piece, I also noticed it when Alex Ross does it. Makes for more powerful pieces, in my mind.
Again a wonderful piece from concept to finish.

Jon Hrubesch said...

The space jockey with a cigar in his mouth has become a bit of an artistic cliché I feel. But I still love it every time I see it. I also love the colors and that he is wearing a plaid shirt under the spacesuit. Fantastic painting!

Libby Fife said...

I like the mix of approaches that you used-reality, imagination, and some reference. No need to just have one way of doing something.

I had to laugh though (and please don't be insulted) because I was reminded of that bit in Airplane! where Robert Hayes is in the rehab hospital painting the fighter pilot. Makes me laugh every time:)

Unknown said...

Is that how Dean Cornwell worked as well?