There Will Be Sharpie And Paper

March 5, 2011

Last night I was eating my dinner. I started to watch a little portion of the film There Will Be Blood. I love the feel of the movie and its epic scale. The wide shots of turn of the century California and the dark mood are very moving. I took a picture of the opening scene. I loved the way the Daniel Plainview character is hunkered around a camp fire in the desert dusk.

This morning I decided to draw this out. I turned on some of the music from the film. It was written by Jonny Greenwood. He is the guitarist for Radiohead. I drank my black coffee in a half-dark room as I worked. I wanted to show you the before and after of this illustration.

I first drew out the scene in Sharpie and ball point pen. I had a nice white cardboard label from a package of envelopes so I drew on the back of that. I only use the best equipment in my creation process! Then I scanned it and used Adobe Illustrator to trace my lines. Next I began to make shapes for the background and main character. I then brought it all into Photoshop.

The next step is to build up the color layers. I  took color swatches from the original scene. I thought the purples and blues were very haunting. I like an aged and textured look to prints and illustrations. To do this I use photos I have taken to create fragments and slivers of color.

I developed a technique to create these little pieces. I have taken many photos of surface textures: grass, brick, straw, skin, hair, straw, wood, clouds, leaves. I split the image up into its basic few color groups. Then I break it apart and select certain shapes. I then color them as needed and overlay them on my illustration. I keep tweaking the image until I feel it is complete; layers upon layers. I add a little here and erase a little there. Kind of the way you taste a dish to see if it needs more seasoning.