Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Name is Barnabas Collins...

In honor of the Tim Burton's"Dark Shadows" the folks at Deviantart decided to hold a contest for the best portrait of Barnabas Collins, the vampire famously played by Jonathan Frid and now Johnny Depp. As fun as that might be, the real kicker was that the top ten entries were going to be judged by Tim Burton himself.

Here's my entry.

I've been a Tim Burton fan for a long time so there was no way I was going to pass this up. Unfortunately, I found out about the contest three days before it was over, so I had to work fast. My initial concept was a traditional three-quarters portrait of Barnabas in a stiff and elegant pose. To contrast this sophistication, I was going to paint blood splatters all over the painting, implying that Barnabas had killed someone and the victim's blood got all over his fancy portrait. How annoying!

As I was sketching this concept an idea came to me of Barnabas staring straight at the viewer while in the background there was a mixture of crazy '70s colors. I really enjoyed the pop-weirdness of the "Dark Shadows" trailer so I decided that was the way to go.

For reference I primarily used these two photos that Warner Brothers provided in the contest kit:

(these two images are copyright Warner Brothers 2012)

I tried to mix and match elements from both Barnabas in creating my own. And in case you're wondering, I started from scratch. There's no copying or tracing to create my final image.

Here's mine right after inking:

I've been playing a lot with line width recently and I think that really helped out the artwork, especially in differentiating the various layers of clothing.

Here's the final line art. I went in and fixed any areas that needed fixing and eliminated dirt. The biggest change was increasing the size of the cane. The initial version was far too small, so I had to go in and scale it up. I also fixed Barnabas's eyes. Minor stuff but it all adds up.

I also used the flip test and found out the illustration was skewed too far to the left. Using Free Transformation - Skew I was able to make it look perfect. Now, color!

Color turned out to be trickier than I expected. The only idea I had was "70s Colors!" But what did that look like? This wasn't it.

 Neither was this.

Nor this.

In a fit of desperation, I started looking at 70s movie posters on Google Image Search and find these:


Yes, that's right, "The Holy Mountain."

The colors on these two posters were fantastic! I straight up copied the colors directly into Photoshop and created this:

Almost there! I played around with hue and saturation and pumped up the colors even more:

And there you go! The finished piece.

Alas I didn't make it to the semi-finals (these talented folks did instead) but I had a great time doing it. I'm very proud of the final image and I think it might be the most technically polished thing I've done so far. That alone made the competition worth it.

See you in the theaters on May 11th!

No comments:

Post a Comment