Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Concept Art Context - A Spin on the 20's.

Over the past few weeknights I've been working out a context to demonstrate a strong, interesting portfolio. While speaking to Ian and Tom (my mentors) we discussed the over-saturation of cliches in concept art portfolios. This is something I've always actively tried to avoid in my concept work so far. Obviously it's easy for me to say that, having only worked on student projects, where commercial value hasn't been at the forefront of my mind at *all* times - cliches are cliches because they sell. 

As I've mentioned in many previous posts, I love drawing inspiration from a wide range of sources, and try to be as eclectic as possible in the ideas that I draught. 

20's Headgear Moodboard
I saw a really nice hat in a charity shop recently like the green one in the photo above, and it was one of those *definitive* 20's hats. When I was sitting sketching later on in the day it popped into my head and I started what would go on to be a predecessor to this quick painting:

First Style Test
Later on in the evening I stumbled upon a really interesting website which gives light insight to the music, literature, fashion, and general culture of the 1920's (you can visit it here). While I was reading one of the pages, I think it was one on movies or art, it mentioned the growth of photography versus portraiture, and I immediately got an idea for an interesting context to start coming up with some ideas.

The context came from the idea that the conception and invention of photography as we know it, was fundamentally different, and the result of this being that their would be an alternate timeline created wherein a scientist - a sort of Tesla character - managed to create a capturing device, which, similar to digital cameras absorbed tiny electric signals in the air which could be transpired in a pixel-fashion onto a canvas. I also like the idea of the technology developing alongside a personality, or at least a mock-personality, in the form of a robotic arm. The whole mechanical arm/portrait idea is reminiscent of those street caricaturists you see, and I think, gives the sketch an eery familiar feel to it - and eery familiarity is always the best kind, right?

In a betamax fashion, the invention of this would go on to remove the 35mm-film era from history, being unfathomably more accurate than film photography available at the time. It would also propel general technology ahead about a century. 

I don't know how much more thought I should give the story, as it's probably enough to get some good work from at the moment, and of course, I like to let the art sort of just develop the story as I work. 

Retro-futuristic / Sci-fi sketches.
In the sketches above you can see the inventor testing an early caricaturist photography device, producing 5x7 resolution portraits. You can also see other relevant-of-the-time applications for the device which I don't think are as interesting as the portraiture one, but are still appropriate. In the middle on the bottom you can see a sort of quasi butler / hal character which moves around on rails, and also a weightlifter on the bottom right training against it. The top half of the page is mainly me trying to 
convey the life of the inventor and his mannerisms. 

Below are some further sketches to fit into this world. They don't quite match up stylistically yet. But the top right and lower left ones I feel could converge pretty nicely, and I especially like the androgynous feel of the latter, and will definitely be experimenting with the fashion, like I have here, further. 

Further Character Designs w/ Lighting

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