Friday, May 14, 2010

Using the Right Model-Part 1

B.J Becker as Colonel Mustard
Reference used for body and chair
Head shot with softer light
"It Wasn't the Wrench in the Library that Killed Him"
Acrylic on Illustration Board- 12"x13"

I teach my students the importance of creating or finding the right reference material for their subject. I am constantly dismayed by the poor quality or lack of reference material that students try to work from. My advice is to always do what it takes to get it right even if that means reshooting your reference material or looking for a different model. Last year I had the chance to do a series of public service advertisements for Truth Against Tobacco. The premise was to spoof the popular board game "Clue" and have the tobacco be the real killer. The first of these ads was to depict Colonel Mustard and I immediately thought to use friend and fellow MFA student B.J.Becker as my model. The biggest problem was that of proximity- B.J. lives out of state. Fortunately, we were to meet up in New York City for a week of contact with our University of Hartford MFA Illustration group. B.J. is a very entertaining and interesting character in his own right and I did not even have to put him in costume (he even had the monocle). The photo shoot took place at the Society of Illustrators in the members club room where we were guests for the week. The finished painting (and series) won a couple of ADDY awards and Juror's choice award.

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