Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Many Gorey Deaths

JAMES-June's Bold Life cover was a real fun and different one. the lead story is on a play about Edward Gorey, so i was asked to do the cover and some inside content in the style of Edward Gorey. that in itself was cool, cuz i've always dug Gorey and was inspired heavily by one of his 'proteges' Tim Burton. so it was a great excuse to draw in such a style - tons of hatching, no varying line weight, exaggerated anatomy, a general eye-level perspective, and of course subtley creepy. but an added excursion was the request to incorporate photos of some actual actors in the play. oh yeah and it had to be done in 3 days. i was seriously psyched for it - no chance to second guess, just dig in.

the photo was taken at the theatre by Rimas Zailskas. great shots and they chose this as the 'one'. so i did a sketch, as usual, to flesh it out. i wanted the characters to interact and to take advantage of the expressions on the photographed actors. i also wanted to pay sincere homage to Gorey's style, but still add a little of my own flavor to it. and it was hard to make it not-too-creepy, since it's still gotta be an effective cover.

i printed out the photo and traced the characters onto the page where i thought they should go. i then started building around them, getting those pencils as tight as i can, since this is a departure style, i didn't want to mess up the next step. when done, i erased the traced photo lines and then drove thomas and darren to the airport to go back to brooklyn.
got home and started inking. this was another way different experience. ALL marker - Pigma Microns, sizes .02, .08, 1, and the big Perma-paque one. originally the plan was to use a nib all thru-out, but with the tight deadline, i didn't have the time to spare to really take my time with a nib and not smear something or mess it up. no kidding, after three hours or hatching really fine lines, i started cramping up big time. and after another few my knuckles were swollen. it was worth it tho. totally clean - not even any use for white out. sweet.

scanned her in and started adding color. this was tricky, cuz Gorey mostly worked in B&W. so the original plan was to go for a light 'wash' look to it. but again, that would have taken a long time to get just right. so i opted for flat colors, all on the duller side, with the exception of the gold necklace the 'Gorey' character is holding which is bright and shiny. no blending on anything, i just let the hatches create the depth and created a well-defined world for the photographed actors to sit in. cutting them out just so and placing them in was tricky - but it was like magic when it was done. thank god for the wacom tablet - whew! drew up some more flags and popped them on, and did all the lettering with the wacom,, and voila! the cover you see at the beginning of this post.
as there were also some photos for the inside, also taken by Rimas, i wanted to incorporate some minor illustrative elements to keep it consistent and really bring the issue together. Rimas had an idea to have a simple running story thru-out the pics, a-la Gorey's storybooks. so i expanded on the theme of the necklace and handkercheif, and Rimas & Mary came up with some some very appropriate lines. and left the portraits as normal name credits. time was running out, so i ran these off one morning - quick sketch, ink, scan, color, cut out, place on photo, submit. they came out great, and along with a title font that i drew and the Table Of Contents page that i hand lettered over yet another Rimas photo, the issue really has a very 'Gorey' vibe thru and thru.


H. Stewart said...

Wow that shit all looks great. I'm not much of a Gorey aficianado but it looks pretty spot on to me.

Bold Life must be thanking their lucky stars that they found you!

james flames said...

actually, i thank my luck stars i found bold life - where else would i get to draw in gorey's style and incorporate photos all at the same time?

thanks tho - i'll send you an issue, it's a good one.

thomas pitilli said...

It was definetly fun to watch you develop this idea and put it together while we were down there. Great job!