Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Donkey Kong "Kill Screen"

JAMES - It's Day 2 of "Process Week", and I'll continue with my Donkey Kong print for the recent show MULTIPLAYER at Gallery 1988 in Venice, CA. The show was a collection of prints from an amazing group of artists, each depicting a selection of classic video game characters - I drew Donkey Kong. Literally. The show was a great success, and I'm honored to have presented with some of the artists I admire most. Incredible stuff.

My prints are now available on my website - get one here: www.jamesflames.com/store.html
(And for anyone curious, these copies are in mint condition. Unfortunately, the ones at the gallery arrived with a very minor bent corner - freakin sloppy FedEx! But my copies are perfectly minty!).


As always, it all starts with a tiny sketch. In reality, there were pages and pages (and pages) of little pencil drawings. I went through a ton of ideas before getting where I wanted to go. This is the culmination of all that work. The first thing you'll see is that DK is facing right, which I later changed to face the other way - I just felt it moved better going to the left.


I started with pencils, shaping and creating my version of Donkey Kong. I didn't want to mimic the 'new' Donkey Kong character (who is a little too tame and friendly for my taste), and while this is meant to be an homage to the classic DK, I didn't want to be as minimal as that design was either. So I gave it my own flair, using lots of reference photos of real gorillas and monkeys.

Working the lighting

One I had the basics down, I wanted to find where all the light and shadows would fall, so I created this reference using two sheets of tracing paper over each other. Just kinda blocking out my blacks to give him depth and weight (he's a big dude!).


The final inks were done on this translucent Vellum paper I use - it's very thin, but real smooth and compliments my brush strokes just the way I like. As usual, I used my #2 Winsor & Newton brush and Dr. Ph Martin's Black Star india ink (which is becoming harder and harder to find! I'm almost all out. Help anyone?)

Detial Shot

From there, the inks were scanned into the computer, and I created a grid over it which divided the whole thing into 'pixels' (big ones). I chose which ones would be the wild and stray ones - some of them having only the base color and no linework, which references the classic DK design; some of them are static colors of aqua and pink, which is meant to mimic the look of when your video gets scrambled.

It was then divided into 8 colors, which I hand printed during 2 and a half days in January (I'm pretty sure this is what I was printing on New Year's day). The colors are super saturated - came out sick, in my opinion.

8-color screenprint, 18"x24", on 100lb Sweet Tooth French paper, 
edition of 70, signed and numbered

Again, these are now available in my store - I don't have very many left, so get them while you can. www.jamesflames.com/store.html Thanks for reading!

Tomorrow, "Process Week" continues with Day 3 - getting gnarly with some duct tape...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This picture is amazing and will help connect all gamers with the current art markets, which is of course the purpose of the 1988 gallery anyway. Right?