Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dragon Mountain Opener Finished

I finished the opening spread for the Boys' Life magazine story "Dragon Mountain".  I changed the camera and strap positioning to make it look like he might lose it. I hope you can feel the tension as he slides down the mountain. This was another fun one painted digitally over a graphite drawing.

Here is the preliminary drawing
Here is the second spread illustration

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

I had the chance to visit Jerusalem yesterday. OK, so I didn't really go to Israel. I was invited along with several other artists to visit the Jerusalem movie set that has been built and used by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to film scenes from the New Testament and the life of Christ. Probably since Star Wars fired my budding artistic mind in 1977, I have been fascinated by movies and how they are made.

As an illustrator I enjoy seeing how others tell stories and the pains they go to to make things feel "right", so I jumped at the chance to visit the recreated Holy Land. I had seen some of the short New Testament film clips, so I knew that the set was impressive, but I was not prepared for the level of design and craftsmanship that went into this layout. Most movie sets are built to last the life of the movie shoot and are then either dismantled or even left to disintegrate in the the weather. This set however was built to last at least 20 years. In that regard, it felt more like the set pieces you would see in Disneyland, minus the props and set dressings. All of the angles and layouts were aligned to take advantage of sunlight and shadow at any time of the day. The sheer number of possible camera angles and shots was mind boggling. I felt like I really was walking the streets of ancient Jerusalem.

We toured the complex during the last day of filming and we got to see some of the scene rehearsal for the execution of the apostle Paul. The costuming was amazing in detail and certainly up to Hollywood standards. While we roamed the set pieces, I got a glimpse into what an amazing and integrated process making a film must be. A set decorator was even sponging different earth colors onto a faux stone wall to pop a little more color right before the film rolled.

I shot tons of photos, learned a lot and was inspired for possible future Christ centered works of art during my tour. Unfortunately, I signed a non disclosure on those photos as part of gaining access, so I can't show any of mine. All of these images are all floating online.

Coincidentally, today the Deseret News ran a nice feature on the Jerusalem movie set that you can read here.

The LDS church wants the world to enjoy these short films on the life of Christ and have made them available for everyone. All the videos are available for free viewing here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dragon Mountain 2 Finish

Just finishing this one up today from the Boys' Life story I am working on. I may adjust some of the shadows a little but for the most part I like it. I posted the preliminary sketch here.  Having a well worked out value drawing definitely seems to speed up the painting phase. I spent about four or five hours rendering this in Photoshop. I am hoping the opening spread comes together as quickly since I have about five deadlines that are one on top of the other at the moment.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dragon Mountain Opener- Sketch

Here is the opening spread drawing for the Dragon Mountain story I am doing for Boys' Life magazine. In this scene, the boy loses his footing and slides down the slope of the mountain and into a dark hole. I posted the drawing for the second scene earlier so you can see what happens next if you click there.

It's always fun to try to get the reference material for a piece like this. My model, the son of our good friends was game to give me the look I wanted but it was impossible for him to hold the pose without falling over, so he did his best and I took the pose in pieces. I laid on the cement of the driveway to get the low angle I wanted and then had him pose the different parts he could hold, one at a time.

Head and torso with one arm, then the second arm and then the flailing legs. I pieced them all together digitally to arrive at the photo comp above which matched my sketch That is what I used to create the final drawing. Both drawings are graphite on bristol paper which I will now scan and use as the basis for the final Photoshop paintings. Stay tuned for the finished illustrations as soon as I get them done.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Octopus Battle

Octopus Battle- acrylic/mixed media by Greg Newbold.

In this scene from Stormalong, our intrepid hero Stormy dukes it out with a giant octopus in a liquid battleground. The ship's anchor was being dragged deeper and the ship along with it. Of course Stormy dives deep, wins the the wrestling match by tying the octopus' legs in knots and makes it safely back to the surface. I posted a couple of other pieces from this series earlier and you can see them at the links below.

Baby Stormalong discovered on the beach
Stormalong's carved memorial 
Stormalong title page illustration

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Death Trap - Finished

Death Trap- 11' x 14" digital and graphite by Greg Newbold
I posted the full value drawing for this piece a few days back. It will be reproduced as a poster and playbill cover for a production of Death Trap this coming season at Pioneer Theatre Company. I have been working on the final art the last couple of days and just finished things up. I decided to keep the background relatively unsaturated to create contrast and also to allow the background elements to recede. I really like how this turned out and in case you were curious, I painted it digitally using Photoshop.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mount Olympus- Rough Stage

Mt. Olympus (work in progress) 24" x 20" oil on canvas by Greg Newbold
I get basically this view out my front door every morning with the exception of the foreground elements. Mount Olympus rises from the valley floor to a height of 9,026 feet and is one of the most recognizable and picturesque peaks in the Wasatch range. I love seeing it every day and I figured it was about time I painted it. One evening a few weeks back, just after a spring snow, I took my camera in search of an angle that would eliminate most of the houses that pack the base of the mountain. I wanted an uncluttered vista that would focus on the geometry of the peak. It was just minutes before the sun would set as I hopped on the belt route to look for a high bench spot in which to capture the last light of the day. Lucky for me, I found a commercial building on top of a rise on the east bench of Salt lake City that backed onto a sage and tree filled empty lot. The clouds parted just enough for me to capture the setting light as it illuminated the peaks and the foreground trees and sage. This is the first pass and I will probably put in at least two more painting sessions before it is done, but I like to get the initial statement down as quickly as I can. This is probably about 3-4 hours of painting time including the drawing.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Dragon Mountain Sketch

I'm doing another project for Boys' Life Magazine right now. This one is a little different in that it will be a teaser for a writing contest. Boys from all over the country will be able to "finish the story" and prizes will be awarded for the best writing. This drawing is for the second spread. I will be painting these in Photoshop and will post the final versions when they are done. The sketch for the first spread is on the table right now and I will post it soon.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Death Trap- Preliminary Drawing

Once again, I am doing a couple of posters for our regional playhouse Pioneer Theater. Last year I did work for A Christmas Carol: the Musical and this year I have agreed to do two new posters. The first is for a murder mystery called Death Trap, the 1978 thriller by Ira Levin who also penned the creepers Rosemary's Baby and The Stepford Wives. The plot revolves around washed up playwright Sydney Bruhl who is approached by a former student Clifford Anderson to read a new play he has written. The play turns out to be fantastic and Bruhl hatches a plan to kill Clifford and steal the script for his own. Many plot twists ensue and the ending is quite a surprise. The weapons in the drawing represent the collection of stage props that decorate one wall of Sydney's house and are also used to knock off the main characters. I wanted something that was ambiguous enough to not give away anything but mysterious enough to draw in the viewer. As soon as I get sketch approval I will move to finish on this one.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Baby Stormalong

This is part of the Stormalong series I did a couple of years back that I described in my last post. The future folk tale hero started life out large and only got bigger. This one depicts the moment when the villagers find baby Stormy on the beach. I am just not sure where you get diapers for a baby that big.

Stormalong background info on Wikipedia

Monday, May 6, 2013

Tribute to Stormalong

I was updating some portfolios last weekend and found a series of paintings I did a couple of years back for the American Fable Stormalong. The story of Alfred Bulltop Stormalong who begins life as a larger than life abandoned baby who is raised by an entire harbor town. He was hauled back to town in a wheelbarrow and continued to grow until he was as large as a whale. Stormy then goes on to have all sorts of adventures as a sailor on the high seas. In the end, a statue is erected in the town square
as a tribute to his legacy. I have enjoyed American Tall Tales since I first heard the Paul Bunyan legend, but I was not as familiar with this one. I did a total of nine images for this story that was included in a reading anthology textbook for elementary aged students. I'll post some of the others I have not posted before later this week.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Battle of Bosworth 2 - Finished

For Want of a Nail - Oil on board, 19" x 10" by Greg Newbold
As I explained when I posted the sketch version of this piece, the symbolism of King Richard III's fall is carried by the rumpled battle flag on the ground and the thrown horseshoe. I preferred this to the the proposed mob battle scene. I think it says more with less and the first piece is plenty to set the battle scene. This ended up being more fun than I thought when I took on the project. I especially likes painting the contrasting textures of the flag, the grass and the horseshoe.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Battle of Bosworth 1 - Finished

Richard III falls in battle signaling farewell to the Plantagenet Dynasty in Britain. I  think this one is done, barring any feedback to the contrary from the client. I enjoyed the challenge of creating a battle scene and overall am pretty pleased with the result. Despite the vibrant primary colors in the heraldry, I think that the neutrals carry the show which is what I wanted. What do you Think?